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In the garden: Bring on the hummingbirds!

The bee balm popped today:

So I look forward my garden being put on the hummingbird nectar circuit forthwith. Actually, though, already is -- I saw the yellow honeysuckle across the garden shaking, and then saw the tiny fat jet fighter-like body of a hummingbird zoom away, metaphorical afterburners aflame. If I recall correctly, in past years hummingbirds tended to show up in the cool of the day, which makes sense: Minimal energy expenditure with respect to nectar yield.

And speaking of invasive plants: Read below the fold...

Goofball Roberts Court rules corporations can excercise religious liberty in Hobby Lobby case

How do they do that? Infant baptism? Adult baptism? Prayer groups? Damascene conversion? Reuters:

The justices ruled for the first time that for-profit companies can make claims under a 1993 federal law called the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA).

From the full text of the opinion:

In these cases, the owners of three closely held for-profit corporations have sincere Christian beliefs that life begins at conception and that it would violate their religion to facilitate access to contraceptive drugs or devices that operate after that point. ...

HHS argues that the companies cannot sue because they are for-profit corporations, and that the owners cannot sue because the regulations apply only to the companies, but that would leave merchants with a difficult choice: give up the right to seek judicial protection of their religious liberty or forgo the benefits of operating as corporations. RFRA’s text shows that Congress designed the statute to provide very broad protection for religious liberty and did not intend to put merchants to such a choice. It employed the familiar legal fiction of including corporations within RFRA’s definition of “persons,” but the purpose of extending rights to corporations is to protect the rights of people associated with the corporation, including shareholders, officers, and employees. Protecting the free-exercise rights of closely held corporations thus protects the religious liberty of the humans who own and control them.

Leave aside the court's curious theology that the practice of religion should not involve any "difficult choice." Read below the fold...

NY High Court upholds Town of Dryden's fracking ban

This is great news (for New York):

Monday, June 30, New York State’s highest court handed the town of Dryden a victory in its precedent-setting case versus Norse Energy Co., in which the gas and oil industry challenged Dryden’s zoning law banning heavy industry within the borders of the town. The case pitted this upstate town of 6000 residents’ right to zone out certain types of business against the gas exploration companies’ argument that only the Department of Environmental Conservation could issue permits. At stake were what Norse Energy deemed a $4 million investment in gas drilling leases in the town of Dryden.

The Court upheld, as well, a zoning law in Middlefield, NY, deciding that towns can use local zoning laws to ban heavy industry, including oil and gas operations, within municipal borders.

“Today the Court stood with the people of Dryden and the people of New York to protect their right to self determination. It is clear that people, not corporations, have the right to decide how their community develops,” said Dryden Deputy Supervisor Jason Leifer. “This would not have been possible without the hard work of many of my friends and neighbors and our lawyers Deborah Goldberg of Earthjustice and Mahlon Perkins. Today's ruling shows all of America that a committed group of citizens and public officials can stand together against fearful odds and successfully defend their homes, their way of life, and the environment against those who would harm them all in the name of profit. "

“Heavy industry has never been allowed in our small farming town and three years ago, we decided that fracking was no exception. The oil and gas industry tried to bully us into backing down, but we took our fight all the way to New York’s highest court. And today we won,” added Dryden Town Supervisor Mary Ann Sumner. “I hope our victory serves as an inspiration to people in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Texas, Colorado, New Mexico, Florida, North Carolina, California and elsewhere who are also trying to do what’s right for their own communities.”

Sometimes, the good guys win! Read below the fold...

DCblogger's picture

Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Conflicts of Interest

Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Conflicts of Interest

I post this to show how completely the Culture of Corruption has engulfed our society. It isn't just TV correspondents and politicians. Our every institution has been corrupted. Read below the fold...

BruceMcF's picture

Sunday Train: Is There A Beam of Hope for Texas Rooftop Solar?

A few weeks back, I teased that I wanted to take a bit of a look at Texas Rooftop Solar in the Sunday Train (which is, recall, focused on Sustainable Transport & Energy, and so both not just about trains, and also not in favor of trains when the trains are advancing climate suicide) ... and then the California budget passed and I went on a two week binge on California HSR.

But now its time to take that glance over at Texas Rooftop Solar. After all, you'd think that Texas would be an ideal state for rooftop solar, and for years we've been seeing articles about how Lone Star State Rooftop Solar would hit big "real soon now". For instance, this, from 13 Jan, 2013: Solar Power Could See Explosive Growth in Texas over Coming Decades:

Still, solar is just a tiny sliver—less than 1 percent—of Texas’ electricity mix, which is dominated by coal (34 percent) and natural gas (45 percent). Wind, with a 9 percent share, is a giant compared to solar.

Yet, the economics are becoming increasingly favorable for solar to take off in a big way. The question is probably when, not if. And a recent analysis by ERCOT—the industry-funded, technocratic grid operator—has some very rosy projections for the future of the solar industry in Texas. (And some very sour news for nuclear, coal and maybe even natural gas.)

The analysis, first flagged by Colin Meehan of Environmental Defense Fund of Texas, looks at potential transmission needs in the next two decades. But, as Meehan wrote, ERCOT "found that if you use updated wind and solar power characteristics like cost and actual output to reflect real world conditions… wind and solar are more competitive than natural gas over the next 20 years."

But if the future doesn't start arriving, it might never get here, brought crashing down by the catastrophic impact of runaway climate crisis. So, what are the prospects that rooftop solar might really start hitting its stride really soon now? Read below the fold...

In the garden: Happy filbert!

This filbert tree is in my raspberry patch, which for reasons unknown to me, has ended up with spectacular soil. It's now taller than I am!

Read below the fold...

Daddy Bush’s Iraq War as Cravenly Lie-Based as Baby Bush’s

Joshua Holland has a fascinating article entitled “The First Iraq War Was Also Sold to the Public Based on a Pack of Lies”.

A 2013 CNN poll revealed that 54% of Americans maintain that George W. Bush deliberately “misled the U.S. public about whether Baghdad had weapons of mass destruction." Read below the fold...

Burwell v. Hobby Lobby gets the press, but Harris v. Quinn is the one to watch

I cruised by Scotusblog today and saw this note:

At 9:30 a.m. on Monday we expect orders from the June 27 Conference, followed by the opinions at 10:00 a.m. We will begin live-blogging at this link at approximately 9:15. The only remaining undecided cases of the Term are Burwell v. Hobby Lobby and Harris v. Quinn.

Yeah, yeah, Hobby Lobby boo! So what's Harris v. Quinn? Read below the fold...

Today, June 28, is the centennial of the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand

The New York Times:

And the London Times: Read below the fold...

Venice....

Common Household Remedies Request

Two followups! Read below the fold...

Tweets of the day

Facebook runs "emotional contagion" experiment on 600,000 users, without their informed consent, by manipulating their news feeds

From the Proceedings Of The National Academy Of Sciences:

Significance
We show, via a massive (N = 689,003) experiment on Facebook, that emotional states can be transferred to others via emotional contagion, leading people to experience the same emotions without their awareness. We provide experimental evidence that emotional contagion occurs without direct interaction between people (exposure to a friend expressing an emotion is sufficient), and in the complete absence of nonverbal cues.

Jeebus! Read below the fold...

In the garden: Goddamned deer

Oooh, tender flowers! [chomp].

Read below the fold...

I had no idea "glocal" was "a thing" (or even a word)

But apparently it is! Says the Google:

[R]eflecting or characterized by both local and global considerations.

This is what I was trying to do with Campaign Countdown in 2012, for those of you who remember that. A corrupt deal in an Augusta Motel is in little what the bailouts are in large; and one person standing up with a sign or making a gesture is in little what an uprising is, en masse*; tyrants know this, and so should we.

As Blake wrote... Read below the fold...

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