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2016.25.2 bf berkowitz(Photo: Brian via Flickr)BILL BERKOWITZ FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

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Not everyone would elevate it to a matter for serious concern, but St. Louis Archbishop Robert Carlson’s latest broadside takes the cake, and maybe even the cookies. According to numerous reports, including a dailykos.com piece by Jen Hayden, in late-February Carlson issued a letter to area “Priests, Scout Leaders and Faithful of the Archdiocese,” warning them against falling prey to … wait for it … the Girl Scouts USA, and the parent organization of GSUSA, the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS).

Archbishop Carlson’s letter is loaded with accusations against the Girl Scouts, many of them repeats from previous conservative-initiated anti-Girl Scout campaigns, many of which go back more than a decade. The letter strings together a church enemies list that includes Gloria Steinem, Betty Friedan (nice to see her name resurfacing), Amnesty International, Oxfam and others.

LORRAINE CHOW OF ECOWATCH ON BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

aaaErin(Photo: Eva Rinaldi)Erin Brockovich is speaking out on Oklahoma’s alarming earthquake activity and she’s not afraid to tie the state’s seismicity to a certain industry.

In an interview with Oklahoma’s News9, the prominent environmental activist and consumer advocate explained she’s aware that the injection of mass quantities of fracking wastewater in disposal wells is triggering the tremors, as geologists have confirmed.

But Brockovich added, “It’s fracking, let’s just be honest.”

Oklahoma experiences more earthquakes than anywhere in the world. Before 2009, Oklahoma had two earthquakes of magnitude 3.0 or greater each year, but now there are two a day. A 5.1 magnitude earthquake that shook northwest Oklahoma two weeks ago was the third-strongest ever recorded in the state, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) said. And, within the past 24 hours, seven earthquakes rattled the city of Edmond in central Oklahoma.

Brockovich told News9 that many citizens have been concerned about structural damage to their homes and have called on her to help protect their health, property and legal rights.

“These people you know, they have rights and their homes are being damaged and structural damage and its cause by a man-made condition,” Brockovich said.

JIM HIGHTOWER ON BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

aaaMitchMc(Photo: Gage Skidmore)Antonin Scalia is gone. The nastiest and noisiest of right-wingers on the Supreme Court is dead.

But he can't be any more brain dead than Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader of the U.S. Senate. In a blatantly partisan ploy to prevent President Obama from nominating a successor to Scalia, McConnell has cited a historical precedent dictating that presidents who are in the last year of their term do not name new justices to the high court. "Therefore," he babbled, "this vacancy should not be filled until we have a new president."

What a silly old squirrel McConnell is! Article II of the U.S. Constitution plainly states that the president "shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint ... Judges of the Supreme Court." Note that the Constitution says the president "shall" do this — as a duty to the nation. Nothing in the founding document suggests that this power and duty is voided in an election year. In fact, 13 Supreme Court nominations have been made in presidential election years, and the Senate took action on 11 of them. McConnell's assertion is bogus (and silly), for history and the Constitution clearly back Obama.

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Ironically, one who would have nailed McConnell for such a slapstick political perversion of plain constitutional language is Scalia himself. He practiced what he called "originalism" in his official judgments, insisting that the Constitution must be interpreted only by the words in it and only by the original meaning those words had for the founders when they wrote them into the document.

2016.23.2 bf durst(Photo: DonkeyHotey)WILL DURST FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

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Q. Has the issue of Justice Antonin Scalia’s replacement on the Supreme Court turned a mite political?

A. You could say that. You could also say that flight simulation wind- tunnels are tough on comb-overs.

Q. How long after the first Italian US Supreme Court Justice’s death did it take to get ugly?

A. Within a short-time of the discovery of the body, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell vowed to keep the seat vacant until after the November presidential election. Probably took longer for a family of five to order dessert at Applebee’s.

2016.23.2 BF Chow(Photo: DonkeyHotey)LORRAINE CHOW OF ECOWATCH FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

Article reprinted with permission from EcoWatch

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Looks like the extremely wealthy and politically influential Koch Brothers are waging a multimillion dollar war against the burgeoning electric vehicle(EV) market, notably frustrating none other than EV titan Elon Musk.

In an effort to strike back at record-breaking EV sales, the fossil fuel industry is allegedly funding a new organization that will spend $10 million a year to push petroleum-based transportation fuels and attack government subsidies on EVs, refining industry sources told the Huffington Post.

According to HuffPo, a Koch Industries board member and a veteran Washington energy lobbyist will be involved in the purported EV-squashing initiative.

Monday, 22 February 2016 11:46

Bundy Boys Bagged By Federal Grand Jury

BILL BERKOWITZ FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

aaaCliven(Photo: Gage Skidmore)It took nearly two years, but Nevada’s Cliven Bundy and four others “were indicted by [a] federal grand jury … on 16 felony charges related to the armed assault against federal law enforcement officers that occurred in the Bunkerville, Nev. area on April 12, 2014,” according to a Press Release issued by the Department of Justice Attorney’s Office, District of Nevada.

Back in 2014, Bundy and his family rallied hundreds of armed like-minded folks to his side in a face off against government agents causing the out strategized and out-smarted U.S. Bureau of Land Management to back down and withdraw. “The BLM's mistakes are now playing into the government's theory in the extortion and assault case against Bundy and his sons, Ammon and Ryan, according to Kathleen Bliss, a former longtime federal prosecutor,” the Las Vegas Review-Journal recently reported.

"Prosecutors are using this to show the conspiracy," said Bliss, who prosecuted organized crime and domestic terrorism cases. "This wasn't just a group that kind of showed up and got together. They definitely had a system in place, and they were organized to meet a certain goal."

As I wrote in late-April 2014, “While many following his story wondered what this government-disdaining Nevada-based rancher -- who has been illegally grazing his cattle on federal land and who marshaled armed militia forces to engage in a standoff with federal agents -- was all about, America's right wing, especially the crew at Fox News, and conservative radio talk show hosts, were quick to brand Bundy a courageous leader of a New Sagebrush Rebellion.”

Bundy’s instant hero status quickly faded when the New Sagebrush Rebellion hero started spouting such racist views about African Americans that even his most confident conservative media admirers forsook him.

PAUL BUCHHEIT FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

aaaBuchheitChalkboard2(Photo: M. Rehemtulla)Latoya and Jalesa, both 26, grew up on the west side of Chicago, attending Calhoun Public School during the day and stepping across the street to Marillac Social Center for after-school programs. They lived in a tough neighborhood. Latoya said the summer gunshots came as often as the sound of ice-cream truck bells in the suburbs. But everyone knew each other on those two blocks; kids walked together, to and from school and in the evenings. Parents -- most of whom had gone to Calhoun -- also knew each other, often through volunteer work at the social center. 

In 2013 Calhoun was one of 50 schools closed by Mayor Rahm Emanuel. It was shut down despite a committee recommendation that it remain open. Jalesa and Latoya, who still work at the center as they pursue other career interests, said the children are scattered now. Most of them take buses to a variety of public and charter schools outside the once-intimate neighborhood. Some have to walk a few blocks, some have to cross busy streets. None of them gather together before and after school, as they used to do on the grounds of Calhoun. 

K-12 Education is Getting Worse

A shocking new OECD report says that among developed countries the U.S. has the highest percentage of youths ages 16-19 with low numeric skills, and the 3rd-highest percentage with low literacy skills. 

SAT scores in 2015 were the lowest since the test was revised in 2005. Math scores for fourth-graders and eighth-graders dropped for the first time since the tests were first administered in 1990.

COLE MELLINO OF ECOWATCH ON BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

aaaAlGore(Photo: Erik Charlton)Al Gore is truly optimistic about the future of humanity and our ability to address climate change. He admitted to the TED2016 audience in Vancouver on Wednesday that “every night on the news is like a nature hike through the Book of Revelation.” But he maintained, “I am extremely optimistic. We are going to win this. We will prevail.”

The former vice president began his talk by highlighting the extent of the problem. He flashed images of flooding in Miami, Chile and India, fires in Australia and ice melting in the Arctic. Greenhouse gas emissions are trapping energy in Earth’s atmosphere at a rate “equivalent to exploding 400,000 Hiroshima atomic bombs per day 365 days per year,” Gore said, quoting climate scientist James Hansen.

“It’s a big planet, but that is a lot of energy,” Gore added.

Despite all this, Gore remains hopeful, arguing humans can and are changing. “Some still doubt we have the will to act,” Gore said. “But I say the will to act is itself a renewable resource.”

2016.18.2 bf mellino(Photo: Hope Abrams)COLE MELLINO OF ECOWATCH FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

Article reprinted with permission from EcoWatch

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New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has called for Indian Point nuclear power plant to be shut down after officials discovered that a radioactive material known as tritium was leaking into the groundwater.

On Feb. 6, Cuomo ordered an investigation into the leak after Entergy, the company that operates the plant, reported “alarming levels of radioactivity at three monitoring wells, with one well’s radioactivity increasing nearly 65,000 percent,” according to a statement from the governor.

Last week, Cuomo called for a more thorough investigation after officials found the leak had spread by 80 percent. Now the governor and lawmakers across the Hudson Valley have called for the plant to close.

2016.18.2 BF Koehler(Photo: vaticanus)ROBERT C. KOEHLER FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

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For at least the last four decades now I feel like I've been living in Beached America: a nation that has lost its values, even as it writhes in violent agitation, inflicting its military on the vulnerable regions of the planet.

It does so in the name of those lost values . . . democracy, freedom, equality. These are just dead words at this point, public relations blather, silently followed by a sigh: yada, yada, yada. Then we send in the drones.

This is the behavior of a nation that is spiritually beached. Ideas that could open up the future have long been gagged, mocked and marginalized, locked in a closet somewhere. No way can they be allowed to have political influence. Thanks, mainstream media.

Here, for instance, is the Washington Post, holding forth on the death of Antonin Scalia and the looming congressional impasse over the appointment of his successor. Rather than dig for what's at stake, Post writer James Hohmann merely revels in the political gamesmanship of it all. Mitch McConnell's decision to use the Republican Senate majority to block the president's replacement choice is, he writes, "a bold and understandable gambit designed to prevent a leftward lurch in jurisprudence."

But: "Assuming the president picks a Hispanic, African American or Asian American — bonus points if she's a woman — this could be exactly what Democrats need to re-activate the Obama coalition that fueled his victories in 2008 and 2012."

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