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As different as agricultural trees are from the forest, the California drought is devastating to the entire ecosystem with varying effects relative to the state's economy. The areas that will feel the effects are the overlap areas in the various adjacent foothills and of course the indirect yet associated effects on state fire resources as well as other long-term aspects - erosion, construction and lumber.
According to an aerial survey conducted last month by the U.S. Forest Service, approximately 12 million forest trees have died in Southern California and the southern Sierra Nevada mountains over the last year. The report credits unusually high temperatures, a diminished snowpack and a severe lack of rainfall with drying up the trees, leaving the region susceptible to forest fires.

Of the more than 4.2 million acres surveyed in Southern California, researchers found 164,000 acres with high tree mortality. They found approximately 2 million trees had died over the last year.

In the southern Sierras, researchers found over 10 million perished trees in 4.1 million acres. There, mortality is "widespread and severe" in the foothills among ponderosa, gray pine, blue oak and live oak trees.

California growers continue to expand their almond acreage in the state during the current drought while Governor Jerry Brown has mandated that urban families slash their water usage by 25 percent.
California’s 2014 almond acreage is estimated at 1,020,000 acres, up 50,000 acres from the 2013 acreage of 970,000, according to a recent  survey conducted by the National Agricultural Statistics Service. That is an increase of 5 percent in one year.

Tue May 05, 2015 at 11:17 PM PDT

GOP budget is a clear message ...

by moochie

GOP’s Senate budget (rec'd via email):
    - slashes programs for K-12 education
    - cuts Pell Grants that help low-income students attend college
    - repeals the Affordable Care Act
    - cuts investments in infrastructure and innovation

Here is another clear message from big money and corporations - just in case you've been missing the point (how many hints do you need?).

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I was a supporter of Proposal 1 here in Michigan, and it just went down in flames.  A little perspective -- I moved to Michigan two years ago and if Prop 1 had never been an issue I probably wouldn't have noticed, or even been able to tell you what Michigan's sales tax was.  (For what it's worth, I grew up in Texas, where state plus local sales tax is 8.25%, so 7% didn't seem all that bad.)

And now things are, theoretically, just the same as they were yesterday.

Except we've just had a season of people from governess to governor complaining about the state of Michigan's roads, so it's in the air that there's a need to be filled, but apparently not that way; 'that way' being a long, complicated ballot proposal, but in the shorthand that will probably get used to talk about it in political circles and state media, 'that way' will probably be 'by taxing.'

So the response to this perceived need will be the Bolger plan, or Colbeck's package: cut a bunch of other things to shove money in to roads, at best doing nobody any net good and probably causing a significant amount of pain where education and social programs are cut back.  

The slim, competing possibility, perhaps something that I can glimpse out of the corner of my eye, calls for a united, loud voice, saying: NO, we do not want cuts to education, we do not want social programs cut.  We want the tax giveaways Michigan has been giving to corporations in recent years to get rolled back.  Use that to fund transportation investment.  We need to make sure that this plan is in the conversation, that any Republican legislator who votes for cuts to programs when corporate tax fairness was in the cards has to justify their choice in front of the voters next year.


Tue May 05, 2015 at 10:24 PM PDT


by broths

Itzl Alerting
As you can see by Itzl's concerned look, this group gives Kossacks a safe place to check in, a daily diary where we can let people know we are alive, doing OK, and not affected by such things as heat, blizzards, floods, wild fires, hurricanes, tornadoes, power outages, earthquakes, or other such things that could keep us off DKos. It also allows us to find other Kossacks nearby for in-person checks when other methods of communication fail - a buddy system. If you're not here, or anywhere else on DKos, and there are adverse conditions in your area (floods, heatwaves, hurricanes, earthquakes etc.), we and your buddy are going to check up on you. If you are going to be away from your computer for a day or a week, let us know here.  We care!
IAN is a great group to join, and a good place to learn to write diaries.  Drop one of us a Kosmail and ask to be added to the Itzl Alert Network anytime! We all share the publishing duties, and we welcome everyone who reads IAN to write diaries for the group!  Every member is an editor, so anyone can take a turn when they have something to say, photos and music to share, a cause to promote or news!  
Good morning.   Please sign in and have a nice day.

So earlier today I posted a bit of a tragicomic poll, meant to bring people to grips with some dark thoughts.

So to bring things full circle, I thought I would try one more thought experiment.

Well not full circle in the straightforward sense.

Proceed if you dare.


What Do You Imagine This Scenario Would Be Like?

8%3 votes
34%12 votes
20%7 votes
0%0 votes
11%4 votes
22%8 votes
2%1 votes
0%0 votes

| 35 votes | Vote | Results

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OND banner

Welcome to the Overnight News Digest (OND) for Tuesday, May 05, 2015.

OND is a regular community feature on Daily Kos, consisting of news stories from around the world, sometimes coupled with a daily theme, original research or commentary.  Editors of OND impart their own presentation styles and content choices, typically publishing near 12:00AM Eastern Time.

Creation and early water-bearing of the OND concept came from our very own Magnifico - proper respect is due.


This diary is named for its "Hump Point" video: Miami 2017 by Billy Joel

News below Aunt Flossie's hairdo . . .

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Tue May 05, 2015 at 08:55 PM PDT

IVH & LLS w/James Corden

by Man Oh Man

Please read and follow instructions before opening.
Or consult your physician.

James Corden
!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! SPOILER WARNING !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
The Insomniacs' Vent Hole is latenight gathering for non-serious palaver.
Please do not speak of tonight's show.
* Posting a spoiler will get you brollywhacked. *
!!!!!!!!!!!!! You don't want that to happen to you. !!!!!!!!!!!!

This vent-hole (hereinafter known as IVH), if lost or stolen will not be replaced nor purchase price refunded.

Violation of IVH rules will result in expulsion without refund.

A copy of IVH rules can be obtained from one or more members wearing tie-dyed oxford shirts after submitting written requests.

Admission to certain functions within the IVH may require additional innuendo, enter at your own risk.

Frivolity and silliness are highly recommended for all riders.

Flamewars are expressly forbidden and political ranting is strongly discouraged.

Please consult your counselor, magistrate or religious functionary before usage.

Comment below if you agree with said terms.

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Anthony Martinez and Jacob Lescenski are the gay/straight couple from Nevada that went to their high school prom together. Anthony and Jacob are best friends. Apparently, Anthony's aunt was so happy and proud about the event that she decided to buy the couple a cake to celebrate. However, when she went to a local Walmart to order the cake, an employee refused the order because Anthony's aunt wanted the word "gay" on the cake. And, now Walmart officials in Las Vegas are apologizing to Anthony, his aunt, and Jacob. The following video was posted to Teen Vogue about the event.

From JMG:

Jennifer Sandoval, who's the aunt of teen Anthony Martinez, says she's overjoyed at all the positive attention her nephew has gotten after his promposal went viral. His straight best friend, Jacob Lescenski, asked him to prom after not getting another date. Sandoval said she went to her local Walmart store on Saturday, located near Nellis and Las Vegas boulevards, to get him a surprise cake to celebrate before the dance. "It said: 'You're gay, he's straight, you're going to prom, you couldn't have had a better date,'” Sandoval said. Sandoval said the initial associate told her she couldn't write that on the cake because it included the word "gay," and that was against store policy. She then asked to speak with a supervisor. "Supervisor takes my phone, looks at it, and was like stuck for a minute, and she was like, 'OK, I'm sorry, we can't use this'. And then I said, 'I'm going to ask you what I asked her because you're the supervisor. Why can't I use this? I don't understand. It's one word. It's gay,'" Sandoval said.
A spokesman for Walmart says they have no policy against the word "gay" and hope to make it up to Sandoval, who says it's too late now. She left the store with the cake seen above. The refusal was mentioned in the video posted yesterday by Teen Vogue.
The gay/straight best friends have received quite a bit of national attention. They were even on Ellen recently. She gifted each of them with 10K to help with education costs.

(h/t towleroad)

From Towleroad:

Said Ellen:

"If that can't be an example for people in the world to know that we just - that you have a date with your friend who you had a crush on and he's open-minded enough to do this. We have teachers who drove in from Las Vegas, your parents are in the audience. Good for you.

I just wanted to say I know that there are some schools out there that don't support this and wouldn't allow this to happen and it's really a shame because prom is very important to a lot of people."


The interactive map above shows which party was leading just after 11 PM EST and what the percentage for the four main parties was. Orange is the center-left NDP, red is the centrist to center-left Liberals, blue is for the center-right Progressive Conservatives, and green is for the right-wing Wildrose Party.

Congratulations to the New Democratic Party, the social democrats who won control of the Alberta legislature for the first time ever tonight. This represents the first time a left-of-center party has won there in 85 years. Shocking is an understatement.

Tue May 05, 2015 at 9:32 PM PT (David Nir): Check out all that orange:

Map and cartogram of preliminary 2015 Alberta provincial election results

Tue May 05, 2015 at 9:39 PM PT (David Nir): For a detailed and sophisticated background on the circumstances that led to this historic sea change, check out James L.'s primer on Alberta's politics and his preview of tonight's election.

Tue May 05, 2015 at 10:29 PM PT: Here's an updated interactive map of the results:


Lots going around in media circles and social speculations regarding the death of Mr. Gray, which is not 'unfortunate' because it is a case of murder. Legally speaking.

Despite not knowing many things, we do know evidence points strongly to a complete disregard for regulations, abandonment of legal obligations and plenty of proof that Mr. Gray was fine; Until cops catch up to him.
On those several bases and a couple of inscrutable attentions to details by Prosecutor Mosby, supported by behavior which can only be categorized as 'wanton', I predict there will be 8 convictions, as charged, in the case of death of Mr. Freddie Gray.
 Here below are primary, irrefutable facts which make this 2nd Degree MURDER at minimum, as charged.
1. Mr. Gray was demonstrably healthy when police first encountered him. He was riding a bike, then ran through narrow streets to avoid them for several minutes. This eliminates  prior conditions causing his death (like a weak heart, or overweight complications)
2. When raised from the ground, restraints in place, he was able to speak and did so repeatedly, communicating clearly that he was in need of medical attention. Therefore his trachea had not yet been collapsed.
3. Medical attention was repeatedly withheld by those with a legal duty to provide same.
4. Proper transport in the specified manner regarding restraints for passenger safety were disregarded. And the disregard was reiterated 4 times when the imperative BPD directive was operative for a standard of conduct.

Read more legal analysis below the Baltimore Police Department smokescreen.



27%3 votes
18%2 votes
18%2 votes
27%3 votes
0%0 votes
0%0 votes
0%0 votes
0%0 votes
0%0 votes
9%1 votes

| 11 votes | Vote | Results

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Kaua'i Councilmember (and former Hawai'i state Environmental Quality Chair) Gary Hooser traveled to Switzerland to speak at the Syngenta shareholders meeting.

 He said:

I'm from the island of Kaua'i in the middle of the Pacific ocean...I'm here today to add information that perhaps is not contained within your annual report and I appreciate your patience with me allowing me to share the message from my community in Kaua'i.

I'm also here today to present a petition a petition from thousands of residents of our small island.  There's only 60-65 thousand people live where I live and we are very, very concerned about our community and the impacts that Syngenta has in our small community.

And that petition is very simple.  It asks Syngenta to honor the laws of our community. Withdraw your lawsuit from the courts of Hawai'i. And to give us the same respect as the same protection as you give the people of Switzerland.

Right now Syngenta sprays enormous amounts of Atrazine in the fields around homes, schools and hospitals where we live. Atrazine is not allowed to be sprayed in your country.

Syngenta sprays enormous amounts of Paraquat which is banned here and in 36 countries around the world. And you do it daily in our community.  There are four additional highly restricted that are sprayed daily around schools,  hospitals and homes where I live.

Imagine if you had to drive and live in a community surrounded by GE test fields.  And every day, every day you know that they are spraying toxic chemicals in the areas around where you live.

Imagine if the schools in your community had children getting sick like they do in my community and going to the hospital in ambulances and throwing up while Syngenta is spraying fields right next door.

Imagine if the doctors in your community like the doctors in my community are concerned about birth defects and believe that there are 10 times the national rate of birth defects in the small hospital where I live.

At this point the recording is cut off as the videographer is forcibly removed from the room.  Hooser ended with a plea that Syngenta drop its lawsuit against Kaua'i county, disclose what they are spraying and observe buffer zones around homes, schools and hospitals.

The trip to Switzerland was at the invitation of the Swiss nonprofit MultiWatch and was supported by the Hawaii Alliance for Progressive Action.   MultiWatch presented the head of the Basel government and Syngenta executives with a petition signed by 6,000 people on Kauai island’s behalf.

In 2013 the Kaua'i county council passed an ordinance which required commercial agricultural entities to disclose the pesticides applied and establish buffer zones around sensitive areas like nursing homes, schools and hospitals.

Shame on you, Syngenta, suing Kaua'i county for the right to spray poisons next to our schools, homes & hospitals.
Syngenta sued to overturn the ordinance giving rise to numerous banners with the mocking message, "Shame on you, Syngenta, suing Kaua'i county for the right to spray poisons next to our schools, homes & hospitals."

After Syngenta, DuPont Pioneer, BASF and Dow AgroSciences, challenged the ordinance, U.S. District Court Judge Barry Kurren invalidated it saying that state laws pre-empted the need for a county law.  That ruling is being appealed in the 9th Circuit Court.

According to Kauai's Garden Isle Newpaper, Hooser said "People were flabbergasted" in Switzerland when they heard what Syngenta was doing.  Syngenta tried to justify their actions but Hooser called their defense "baloney" and said that 66,000 pounds of Atrazine in Hawai'i last year.

Hooser is not particularly hopeful that the giant chemical company will stop experimentation on Kaua'i.  Syngenta itself said, " “The island offers unrivaled climatic and agronomic conditions for crop research, which has benefited millions of growers around the world."

Seems like Hawaii's beautiful climate is a double edged sword.

Discuss could actually be several hundred dollars lower.

A week ago I posted a storyin which I busted Michigan State Senator Patrick Colbeck for blatantly spewing nonsense numbers about the ACA in an Op-Ed in the Detroit News.

Yesterday, my follow-up story, about the Detroit News allowing Colbeck to go back in and correct some (but not all) of his insanely false factual garbage a solid 10 days later (while failing to give any indication about just how absurdly wrong he had been in the first place) went viral, generating more visitors than any other story I've posted in months.

After an all-day saga, the end result was that the Detroit News finally posted a "correction" notice...except they did so in such a disingenous way (and so long after the original editorial was publshed) as to be nearly meaningless.

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