Tag Archives | Change

When the Earth Gets Sick: Most Mass Extinctions Happened Slowly

Pangaea

Earth in the Permian period. Illustration: Kieff (CC)

Via ScienceDaily:

In geology as in cancer research, the silver bullet theory always gets the headlines and nearly always turns out to be wrong. For geologists who study mass extinctions, the silver bullet is a giant asteroid plunging to earth.But an asteroid is the prime suspect only in the most recent of five mass extinctions, said USC earth scientist David Bottjer. The cataclysm 65 million years ago wiped out the dinosaurs.

“The other four have not been resolvable to a rock falling out of the sky,” Bottjer said. For example, Bottjer and many others have published studies suggesting that the end-Permian extinction 250 million years ago happened in essence because “the earth got sick.”

The latest research from Bottjer’s group suggests a similar slow dying during the extinction 200 million years ago at the boundary of the Triassic and Jurassic eras. The latest research from Bottjer’s group suggests a similar slow dying during the extinction 200 million years ago at the boundary of the Triassic and Jurassic eras.

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Whither Environmentalism?

Earth FirstJennifer Browdy de Hernandez writes at Common Dreams:

In the latest issue of Orion Magazine, environmental activists Derrick Jensen and Paul Kingsnorth both express their frustrations with the current environmental movement.

Jensen takes movement organizers to task for their drift towards actions that are “fun and sexy.”  “The fact that so many people routinely call for environmentalism to be more fun and more sexy reveals not only the weakness of our movement but also the utter lack of seriousness with which even many activists approach the problems we face,” he says bitterly.  “When it comes to stopping the murder of the planet, too many environmentalists act more like they’re planning a party than building a movement.”

But let’s face it, there are a lot of people on this planet who find the issues addressed by environmentalism just too scary and depressing to deal with. The environmentalist party-planners are trying to reach these folks, who have been suckled from birth on cheery feel-good media, by presenting environmental action as fun and upbeat, rather than as doom-driven and angst-ridden.

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Ron Paul Scored Higher Than President Obama on the ACLU Report Card

This is embarrassing for anyone who voted for "Hope and Change" ... and the highest score goes to former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson, who was not even allowed to debate in televised debates. So reports Bob Egelko in the San Fransisco Chronicle:
The highest overall rating went to former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson, a Republican-turned-Libertarian, who opposes the Patriot Act and — unlike Obama — supports the right of gays and lesbians to marry. Among the leading Republican candidates, libertarian-leaning Rep. Ron Paul also got a higher score than Obama despite low ratings in several categories.
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Why Do People Defend Unjust, Inept, and Corrupt Systems?

Corrupt Legislation

Detail from Corrupt Legislation. Mural by Elihu Vedder (1896).

Via ScienceDaily:

Why do we stick up for a system or institution we live in — a government, company, or marriage — even when anyone else can see it is failing miserably? Why do we resist change even when the system is corrupt or unjust?

A new article in Current Directions in Psychological Science, a journal published by the Association for Psychological Science, illuminates the conditions under which we’re motivated to defend the status quo — a process called “system justification.”System justification isn’t the same as acquiescence, explains Aaron C. Kay, a psychologist at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business and the Department of Psychology & Neuroscience, who co-authored the paper with University of Waterloo graduate student Justin Friesen. “It’s pro-active. When someone comes to justify the status quo, they also come to see it as what should be.”

Reviewing laboratory and cross-national studies, the paper illuminates four situations that foster system justification: system threat, system dependence, system inescapability, and low personal control …

Read more here.… Read the rest

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Bull Moose or Bull Sh*t: Is Obama Changing His Stance Towards Wall Street?

Teddy Roosevelt / Barack ObamaIs Obama changing?

Many in the Occupy Wall Street Movement are patting their efforts on the back, and even claiming credit for what looks like a shift by President Obama towards a more engaged campaign discussing economic fairness.

The President’s speech in Kansas was modeled on remarks made by the Republican Bull Moose Teddy Roosevelt in 1910. There’s nothing like quoting a Republican for credible centrist positioning. (Note: he quotes TR, not FDR.)

Will he embrace GOP Pres Eisenhower’s warning about the Military Industrial Complex next?

Unlikely.

Richard Eskow was quick to salute the new Obama:

“Barack Obama channeled one of American history’s truly transformative figures by visiting the tiny Kansas town where Teddy Roosevelt gave his ‘New Nationalism’ speech over a century ago. It was refreshing to see the President invoke his predecessor, who was a powerful and fearless agent of change both inside and outside the White House.

“For the first time the President directly confronted the injustice of our growing economic divide, which were caused by the ongoing rapacity of the already-wealthy.… Read the rest

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President Obama Has Raised More Money From Wall Street Than Any Politician in American History

CasablancaThis opinion piece from Joe Scarborough in the Politico is worth a read:

One of the most famous scenes in movie history comes from “Casablanca,” when a corrupt official shuts down Humphrey Bogart’s cafe. Bogart asks the French captain — who also happens to be a gambling aficionado — why he’s closing the joint down. His response is a classic.

“I am shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on here.”

Political commentators have referred to Capt. Renault’s uproarious line for years when calling out hypocritical politicians. But few political narratives ever fit that scene as tightly as President Barack Obama’s bipolar approach to Wall Street. To fully understand the extent of Obama’s double-speak, it helps to let the “Casablanca” scene play out a bit, because after the corrupt captain makes his self-righteous declaration, a croupier hands him cash and says, “Your winnings, sir.”

Capt. Renault quietly thanks the croupier and then quickly returns to the role of reformer by shouting, “Everybody out at once!” Like that old movie character, Obama seems capable of effortlessly floating between demonizing Wall Street gambling one day and profiting from it the next.

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