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Wednesday, December 07, 2016

Several thousand snow geese have died after a snowstorm forced large flocks to take refuge in the acidic, metal-laden waters of an old open pit mine in Montana.

Mark Thompson, environmental affairs manager for mine company Montana Resources, said witnesses described the pit as like "700 acres of white birds" on 28 November.

"I can't underscore enough how many birds were in the Butte area that night," Thompson said. "Numbers beyond anything we've ever experienced in our 21 years of monitoring by several orders of magnitude."

The employees worked hard to save the birds, he said.

Typically, Butte sees between 2,000 and 5,000 birds all year, including spring and water migration, Thompson said.

The estimated death toll is based on drone and aircraft flights over the pit, which holds about 45bn gallons (175bn litres) of water. read more

A group of House Democrats on Tuesday gathered to discuss reforms to the way the country elects its president ― namely the Electoral College ― after Hillary Clinton lost the 2016 election to Donald Trump despite winning the popular vote by 2.7 million votes and counting.

At a forum on Capitol Hill hosted by Rep. John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.), the chair of the House Judiciary Committee, several Democrats from populous states argued the Electoral College is an outdated form of electing a president ― one that was originally devised as a compromise to protect the power of slave-owning states.

Democratic lawmakers hailing from states like California, New York, Virginia and Texas argued the balance of power unfairly skewed toward smaller, less populous states, and said that battleground states carried disproportionate influence in presidential elections. In the entire 2016 election, read more

Tuesday, December 06, 2016

Christopher Suprun: I am a Republican presidential elector, one of the 538 people asked to choose officially the president of the United States. Since the election, people have asked me to change my vote based on policy disagreements with Donald J. Trump. In some cases, they cite the popular vote difference. I do not think president-elects should be disqualified for policy disagreements. I do not think they should be disqualified because they won the Electoral College instead of the popular vote. However, now I am asked to cast a vote on Dec. 19 for someone who shows daily he is not qualified for the office. read more

Colleagues famously detailed in 1986 that Jeff Sessions, then a 39-year-old attorney in Alabama, said his main point of contention with the Ku Klux Klan was that they smoked weed. He said he thought the folks in the white supremacist hate group were "okay, until he learned that they smoked marijuana," according to testimony that resulted in Sessions being denied a federal judge position.

Those accusations of racism have continually dogged Sessions, but Politico detailed Monday that the likely next attorney general has also not shifted his hard-line stance against marijuana. Sessions has kept up his anti-marijuana crusade for decades even as attitudes in the United States have shifted.

Roughly 57 percent of adults in the country feel the use of recreational marijuana should be made legal, according to Pew Research Center data. read more

Saturday, December 03, 2016

Political leaders in several states are threatening to thwart the implementation of voter-approved initiatives specific to the regulation of marijuana. In Massachusetts, where voters decided 54 percent to 46 percent on election day to legalize the cultivation, use, and retail sale of cannabis by adults, politicians have suggested amending the law and delaying its implementation. Specifically, lawmakers have called for pushing back the date when adults may legally begin growing cannabis from December 15, 2016 to an unspecified point in time. Legislators have also called for delaying retail sales of cannabis until late 2018, and have proposed increasing marijuana-specific sales taxes. read more


I will use the Brooking institute as a source here to say Job loss is not due to robots BUT Free Trade

"So is there a relationship between job loss and the use of industrial robots?

The substantial variation of the degree to which countries deploy robots should provide clues. If robots are a substitute for human workers, then one would expect the countries with much higher investment rates in automation technology to have experienced greater employment loss in their manufacturing sectors. Germany deploys over three times as many robots per hour worked than the United States, largely due to Germany's robust automotive industry, which is by far the most robot-intensive industry (with over 10 times more robots per worker than the average industry). Sweden has 60 percent more robots per hour worked than the United States thanks to its highly technical metal and chemical industries.

Yet the evidence suggests there is essentially no relationship between the change in manufacturing employment and robot use. Despite the installation of far more robots between 1993 and 2007, Germany lost just 19 percent of its manufacturing jobs between 1996 and 2012 compared to a 33 percent drop in the United States. (We introduce a three-year time lag to allow for robots to influence the labor market and continued with the most recent data, 2012). Korea, France, and Italy also lost fewer manufacturing jobs than the United States even as they introduced more industrial robots. On the other hand, countries like the United Kingdom and Australia invested less in robots but saw faster declines in their manufacturing sectors."

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