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Welcome! "What's Happenin'?" is a casual community diary (a daily series, 8:30 AM Eastern on weekdays, 10 AM on weekends and holidays) where we hang out and talk about the goings on here and everywhere.  

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Flower
It's hard to make predictions, especially about the future. Yogi Berra



Nature in the City
Mahonia berries on my balcony
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"I've seen the Future, brother and it's murder."




News


    Saltwater From Gulf Invades Mississippi River
Saltwater typically encroaches on the Mississippi every eight to 10 years, but that could be changing, says Mark Davis, director of the Tulane Institute on Water Resources, Law and Policy."With rising seas, and if we talk about deepening the channels of the rivers to accommodate bigger ships, this kind of thing is something you may face more frequently, and if you get it wrong, it can affect the vitality of industries and the health of populations," Davis says. Normally, the strong outward flow of the Mississippi keeps saltwater at bay. But Davis says the lower river bottom is below sea level, so when there's less flow coming downstream, the Gulf wedges its way in. "Saltwater hugs the bottom of the river because it's heavier, denser than the freshwater. And that's what makes it a wedge, not a wall. And right now, given the low flows in the Mississippi and the level of the Gulf, we're watching the water make its way toward New Orleans," Davis says. ... The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says the saltwater has been encroaching more than a mile a day, but that pace has significantly slowed in the past few days. And New Orleans District Commander Col. Ed Fleming says the corps is working to stop it.
Enbridge stirs up controversy with depiction of West Coast waterway as containing no islands
Critics say video an attempt to mislead public
About 1,000 square kilometres of islands have disappeared from Douglas Channel in an animated depiction of Enbridge Inc.'s proposed Northern Gateway pipeline and tanker route.

The project would send bitumen by pipeline from Alberta's oilsands to Kitimat, where it would be loaded onto tankers for export to Asia.

A video on the Enbridge website shows Douglas Channel as a wide open funnel leading from Kitimat to the Pacific, omitting the narrow channels, islands and rocky outcrops that make up the potential tanker access route.

This story compares the fake maps with the real maps.
Lying with Maps: How Enbridge is Misleading the Public in its Ads
The Ottawa Citizen has a great story today about an advert by Enbridge (the company proposing to build a oil pipeline across British Columbia) that includes a "broadly representational" map that shows prospective supertankers steaming up an unobstructed Douglas Channel channel on their way to and from Kitimat - the proposed terminus of the pipeline.

WikiLeaks and Free Speech
Taken together, the British and Swedish governments’ actions suggest to us that their real agenda is to get Mr. Assange to Sweden. Because of treaty and other considerations, he probably could be more easily extradited from there to the United States to face charges. Mr. Assange has every reason to fear such an outcome.The Justice Department recently confirmed that it was continuing to investigate WikiLeaks, and just-disclosed Australian government documents from this past February state that “the U.S. investigation into possible criminal conduct by Mr. Assange has been ongoing for more than a year.” WikiLeaks itself has published e-mails from Stratfor, a private intelligence corporation, which state that a grand jury has already returned a sealed indictment of Mr. Assange. And history indicates Sweden would buckle to any pressure from the United States to hand over Mr. Assange. In 2001 the Swedish government delivered two Egyptians seeking asylum to the C.I.A., which rendered them to the Mubarak regime, which tortured them.
How the spike in corn prices will hit consumers
This year, U.S. farmers planted the largest corn crop since 1937 — 96.4 million acres, an area almost as big as the state of California. (Canada's corn crop, by contrast, is about one-thirtieth that size.)

Only about one per cent of those acres have sweet corn growing on them. That's the corn we eat as corn on the cob or as frozen or canned niblets. Sweet corn fields are often irrigated, so depending on local water reserves, the price of corn on the cob may not show any real impact from the drought.

400
No Person Shall Be Deprived of Life, Liberty or Property… Unless the Oil and Gas Industry Says So

Eminent domain, the government’s right to condemn (or take) private land for “public use,” has at times been a highly contentious topic because it can displace people from their homes to make way for construction of different projects, like highways or roads, civic buildings and other types of public infrastructure. However, what some may not realize is that several states have granted eminent domain authority to certain private entities, including oil and gas companies. These companies are using it as a tool to seize private land, which increases profits and benefits their wallets.

America’s Deficit Attention Disorder
To realistically address the nature of the public financial deficits at the center of the current political debate, it is crucial to understand the nature of money and debt. Money is just a number, a system of accounting useful in facilitating economic exchange. A deficit occurs when expenditures exceed income. If, as a result, financial liabilities come to exceed financial assets, we go into debt. It is all basic accounting.  

The key point, which the deficit debates rarely address, is that one person or entity’s financial debt is another person or entity’s financial asset. We can only borrow money from each other. The idea that we borrow money from the future is an illusion.

Santa Clarita vending machine dispenses original artworks
The city of Santa Clarita gets 10 artists to contribute miniature originals for a vending machine. The proceeds will help fund city-run arts education programs.
Ten artists each contributed 10 original creations for the debut of the vending machine, which will move to other venues. There were oil-painted landscapes, floral cascades in watercolor, portraits of Native Americans in regal headdresses and mounted, multicolored origami sculptures.

Inside most of the packages — measuring about 5 by 5 inches — were a mini easel and a note from the artist who created the piece. Fisher's note speaks of her "love to catch the magic of light, form and color in nature."



Blog Posts of Interest








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We are ready for some serious change. We are ready to take up the tools of a free and analytic press to peacefully undermine the stranglehold of the kleptocrats on our battered democracy. We are ready to expose and publicize their greed, lies and illegal machinations and hold their enablers in government and the media to account. Are you in?

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."
 ~ Margaret Mead

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