Christina Sarich

News Report

The city of Claremont, North Carolina has just signed an agreement with Apple, which will allow a 100-scre solar farm to be built, providing 17.5 megawatts of energy annually at the development cost of $55 million. This will be Apple’s third large solar farm in the United States. Of the mega-corporations, Apple continues to be a leader in responsible stewardship of sustainable energy practices.

Apple is currently the only company in the industry that powers its data centers with 100% renewable energy. While Apple does not have an impeccable record for doing business humanely, with several 15-year old children found to be working in factories that supply Apple with iPods and mobile phones, it does at least continue to make progress on the energy front.  (Microsoft recently purchased the entire 20-year output of the Pilot Hill Wind Project in Illinois, but they don’t crate solar or wind-power infrastructure, and Google recently pledged $250 million to the company, SunPower, to create a solar power fund – which essentially leases solar power to 20,000 homes.)

On that note, Apple and Catawba County seem to have struck a solar bargain. The first 20 megawatt farm built by Apple is located on the company’s campus in Maiden, North Carolina, and just last year Apple gained rights for the construction of another 20 megawatt solar farm in Conover. The solar farms are used to power the iCloud data center.

Apple’s latest solar endeavor required the City of Claremont to annex land that was not in the city’s corporate limits, but in its extraterritorial jurisdiction. A separate agreement allows for a land swap between Apple and the City, with Apple returning two parcels of land to be used for greenways, public recreation and other public purposes. 75 jobs are expected to be created in the construction of the farm, and they have promised to source their employees from the state’s pool of talent, where possible.

North Carolina has heavy incentives for building solar energy farms. Under state law, “80 percent of the appraised value of a solar energy electric system is excluded from the city’s tax base,” according to the Hickory Record.”

The project is expected to take five years to complete, and the appraised value of the land at that date is currently unknown.

As solar briefing papers from the American Planning Association point out:

“One of the keys to local solar market growth is a supportive regulatory environment. Planners ...

Fox News Contributor Calls on US to Welcome Immigrant Children
Zack Ford
News Investigation

Conservative columnist and Fox News contributor George Will has long been anadvocate for immigration reform, including a conservative version of a “path to citizenship” for undocumented immigrants, for some time, but he took his position a bit further Sunday morning on Fox News Sunday. Referring to the influx of unaccompanied children crossing the border from Mexico and other Central American countries — over 52,000 since last October — Will told host Chris Wallace that the United States should welcome these children with open arms.

“We ought to say to these children, ‘Welcome to America, you’re going to go to school and get a job and become Americans,’” Will implored. “We have 3,141 counties in this country. That would be 20 per county. The idea that we can’t assimilate these eight-year-old criminals with their teddy bears is preposterous.”

Wallace warned that detractors will accuse Will of not understanding the issue, but he was undeterred. “We can handle this problem, is what I’m saying,” he reassured. “We’ve handled what Emma Lazarus famously called ‘the wretched refuse of your teeming shores’ a long time ago and a lot more people than this.”

Watch it (via The Huffington Post):

On Friday, President Obama told Central American leaders that “children who do not have proper claims and families with children who do not have proper claims at some point will be subject to repatriation to their home countries.” The administration is considering, however, extending refugee status to young people coming from Honduras.

In the meantime, the Obama administration has asked Congress for $3.7 billion in emergency funds to address the surge of unaccompanied minors crossing the border. The House and Senate have proposed competing bills, neither of which is expected to pass before the August recess.

Will made his comments in response to USA Today columnist Kirsten Powers, who similarly called out congressional Republicans for only being willing to discuss immigration reform when “it comes to deporting children.”

 

Naomi Oreskes
Op-Ed

Albert Einstein is rumored to have said that one cannot solve a problem with the same thinking that led to it. Yet this is precisely what we are now trying to do with climate change policy.  The Obama administration, the Environmental Protection Agency, many environmental groups, and the oil and gas industryall tell us that the way to solve the problem created by fossil fuels is with more fossils fuels.  We can do this, they claim, by using more natural gas, which is touted as a “clean” fuel -- even a “green” fuel.

Like most misleading arguments, this one starts from a kernel of truth.

That truth is basic chemistry: when you burn natural gas, the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) produced is, other things being equal, much less than when you burn an equivalent amount of coal or oil. It can be as much as 50% less compared with coal, and 20% to 30% less compared with diesel fuel, gasoline, or home heating oil. When it comes to a greenhouse gas (GHG) heading for the atmosphere, that’s a substantial difference.  It means that if you replace oil or coal with gas without otherwise increasing your energy usage, you can significantly reduce your short-term carbon footprint.

Replacing coal gives you other benefits as well, such as reducing the sulfate pollution that causes acid rain, particulate emissions that cause lung disease, and mercury that causes brain damage.  And if less coal is mined, then occupational death and disease can be reduced in coal miners and the destruction caused by damaging forms of mining, including the removal, in some parts of the country, of entire mountains can be reduced or halted.

How Capitalism is Cheating Young Americans
Paul Buchheit
Op-Ed

Our country's wealthy white once-idealistic baby boomer generation has cheated those of you entering the working world. A small percentage of us have taken almost all the new wealth since the recession. Our Silicon Valley CEOs have placated you with overpriced technological toys that are the result of decades of American productivity, but which have mainly profited the elite members of their industries.

 

Although none of us in the older generations can speak for you, we can help you research the facts. And the facts are painfully clear.

 

1. You Have Very Little Savings to Pay Your Massive Debts

 

A recent report claims that median net worth for the millennial generation (18 to 35 years old) has risen from $9,000 to $32,000 since 2007, and that their median income is $47,000.

 

Most other sources disagree. A report from the Russell Sage Foundation concludes that all American households have lost wealth since 2007. Other evidence shows that about 90% of us lost wealth in the past five years, while the richest - and generally older - 5% made millions. Median income, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, is only about $35,000 for 25- to 34-year-olds, and just $25,000 for 20- to 24-year-olds.

Juan Cole
Op-Ed

Sharif Abdel Kouddous reports for The Nation from Gaza on the Israeli shelling of a U.N. school that killed 16 and wounded 200, even though the school’s coordinates had been given to the Israeli military.  Despite Israeli water-muddying, there isn’t any doubt that the Israelis struck the school, nor is there any evidence that the school was an origin point for any Hamas rockets. Indeed, correspondents on the ground find no evidence for Hamas using civilians as human shields.

CBS explains that the Israeli military contacted the U.N. and told them that the compound would be attacked by Israel.  The U.N. replied that they would need time to move the large number of refugees sheltering there.  They tried to cooperate.  They never heard back from the Israeli army, and then Israeli tanks opened fire.  It is outrageous that Israeli media spokesmen attempted to assert or imply that the school was hit by Hamas rockets.  They were lying pure and simple.  Because the Israeli generals had already told the U.N. that they were going to shell the school!

I don’t think it is any accident that soon thereafter, Israel announced a unilateral ceasefire for Saturday (though it had already violated the ceasefire by Saturday morning).  The images of dead children and of reckless and illegal shelling of civilian structures where there were no militants or munitions have piled up in the World’s consciousness, and even though the Israeli leadership likes to pose as macho, they are open to being pressured, and they are being heavily pressured, by the outside world.

Likewise, the eruption of large demonstrations on the West Bank must be worrisome to the Netanyahu government, since it would stretch the Israeli army thin to try to have it police both Gaza and the whole West Bank.  Worse, the West Bank protesters are secular Fateh types, and are more sympathetic figures to the Arab neighbors like Egypt than are Hamas.  Cracking down on them won’t be as relatively cost-free as the Israeli campaign against Hamas, which is disliked by the governments of most of Israel’s Arab neighbors or near neighbors.  Still, the ceasefire is so far a phony ceasefire, and unless the siege on Gaza is lifted any ceasefire is just a prelude to another war.

This post originally ran on Juan Cole’s Web page.

 

VOICES FOR CHANGE

Apple to Build 100-Acre Solar Farm in North Carolina
Christina Sarich
"

The city of Claremont, North Carolina has just signed an agreement with Apple, which will allow a 100-scre solar farm to be built, providing 17.5 megawatts of energy annually at the development cost of $55 million. This will be Apple’s third large solar farm in the United States. Of the ...

" ::
Kansas Experiment Blows Up Laboratory of Democracy
Joe Conason
"

When Louis Brandeis wrote in 1932 that a "single courageous state may, if its citizens choose, serve as a laboratory; and try novel social and economic experiments without risk to the rest of the country," he was suggesting that state innovations might advance reform on the federal level. The progressive ...

" ::
How Capitalism is Cheating Young Americans
Paul Buchheit
"

Our country's wealthy white once-idealistic baby boomer generation has cheated those of you entering the working world. A small percentage of us have taken almost all the new wealth since the recession. Our Silicon Valley CEOs have placated you with overpriced technological toys that are the ...

" ::
Did Israel Go Too Far? The Massacre at the UN School and Refugee Center
Juan Cole
"

Sharif Abdel Kouddous reports for The Nation from Gaza on the Israeli shelling of a U.N. school that killed 16 and wounded 200, even though the school’s coordinates had been given to the Israeli military. Despite Israeli water-muddying, there isn’t any doubt that the Israelis struck the school, nor is there any ...

" ::
Do-Nothing Congress Does Something to Hide Its Debt to Lobbyists
Jim Hightower
"

When I heard our Congress critters are taking an extended vacation for all of August and part of September, I had two incongruous reactions: gratitude and anger.

" ::
To Share is Not Always to Share Alike
Froma Harrop
"

The online rental booking service Airbnb is a fast-growing empire that pairs travelers with people wanting to profit off a room in their house — or the whole house. Like VRBO, HomeAway and similar platforms, Airbnb occupies the lodging sector of the "sharing economy."I come not to address the legal concerns such services raise. They do compete with motels and hotels, which are subject to a variety of regulations, while often depriving cities of ...

" ::
UN: Israel’s Military Action in Gaza May Amount to War Crimes
Juan Cole
"

U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said on Wednesday that Israel’s military actions are responsible for the death of a child every hour in recent days and observed, “Respect for the right to life of civilians, including children, should be a foremost consideration. Not abiding by these principles may amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity.” (see below).  That is, in international law, Israel’s pretext for indiscriminate ...

" ::
Monsanto Ordered to Pay $93 Million to Small Town for Poisoning Citizens
Christina Sarich
"

Big wins can happen in small places. The West Virginia State Supreme Court finalized a big blow to the biotech giant Monsanto this month, finishing a settlement causing Monsanto to pay $93 million to the tiny town of Nitro, West Virginia for poisoning citizens with Agent Orange chemicals.The settlement was approved last year, but details were worked out only weeks ago as to how the funds were to be spent.The 

" ::
Stadium Subsidies Financed by Pension Cuts
David Sirota
"

As states and cities grapple with budget shortfalls, many are betting big on an unproven formula: Slash public employee pension benefits and public services while diverting the savings into lucrative subsidies for professional sports teams.

" ::
The Palestinians’ Right to Self-Defense
Chris Hedges
"

If Israel insists, as the Bosnian Serbs did in Sarajevo, on using the weapons of industrial warfare against a helpless civilian population then that population has an inherent right to self-defense under Article 51 of the United Nations Charter. The international community will have to either act to immediately halt Israeli attacks and lift the blockade of Gaza or ...

" ::

NOC BULLHORN

Monsanto Greed

Stand up to Monsanto and tell the Obama Administration to support mandatory GMO labeling.

Agriculture

El Salvador famers are fighting back against the Monsta.

Fracking

Fracking is nowhere to be seen in Germany’s future.

Food Health

A settlement by West Virginia Supreme Court ordered Monsanto to start paying victims of dioxin exposure.

Food Health

A settlement by West Virginia Supreme Court ordered Monsanto to start paying victims of dioxin exposure.

Fracking

Fracking is nowhere to be seen in Germany's near future.

Tar Sands

The measure is intended to stop ExxonMobil and partner companies from bringing Albertan tar-sands oil east through an aging pipeline network to the city’s waterfront.

Agriculture

Could small, biodiverse farms help the Aloha State transition to growing enough food to feed itself?

Climate Change

This is an invitation to change everything.

Genetically Modified Foods

According to the Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity at Yale University, marketing of cereals to children has increased significantly over the years.

Animals

We shall not be troubled by the inherent unknowns in quantifying poaching and exact numbers of elephants killed.

Fracking

Lots of people warned the citizens of Dryden not to do it, pointing out that a local ban on fracking would only invite ruinous lawsuits by armies of industry lawyers.

Monsanto Greed

Residents of the town filed a class action lawsuit against Monsanto in 2004 after ongoing health conditions were linked to the production of Agent Orange.

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