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Obama orders 40 percent cut in government's greenhouse gases

greenhouse gasesPresident Barack Obama will order the federal government on Thursday to cut its emissions of greenhouse gases by 40 percent, as the U.S. seeks to spur other nations to get serious about climate change.

Obama's executive order will also direct the government to ramp up use of renewable energy sources to 30 percent of the federal government's consumption. The White House said U.S. taxpayers could save up to $18 billion in electricity costs by reducing greenhouse gases 40 percent over the next decade, compared to 2008 levels.


Warm weather puts Alaska on thin ice

War weather in AlaskaA few weeks ago, as champion musher Martin Buser prepped for the 1,000-mile Iditarod Sled Dog Race across Alaska, ugly images from last year’s trail kept flashing in his head. In the old days, a bad trail meant lots of drifting snow. But last year was just the opposite: miles of open, snowless ground, fraught with hazards. It was the worst he has seen in decades of running dogs.

“Glare ice, stumps, roots, rocks and tussocks,” Buser said. “There was so much carnage out there, musher- and sledwise.”


Much Rests On The Enhanced Large Hadron Collider

hadron colliderGet ready to look at the universe through a new window.

Later this month, the Large Hadron Collider, or LHC, the behemoth particle accelerator operated by the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), will be back in action after a two-year hiatus.

The pause was intentional, giving technicians and engineers time to ramp up the collision energy by almost a factor of two. In particle collisions, the higher the energy, the bigger the payoff, as the energy of the colliding particles gets translated into the masses of the debris, following the E=mc2 prescription.


US lawmakers introduce bill to restore voting rights to ex-convicts

Votoing rights asked for felonsLawmakers introduced a bill Wednesday that would restore voting rights in federal elections to nearly 4.4 million U.S. citizens with criminal convictions after their release from prison.

The Democracy Restoration Act was introduced by Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Md., and Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich. Similar versions of the bill have been introduced in past congressional sessions.


Why Shale Producers Still 'Pump and Pray'

shale drillingAs the price of oil continues to fall, the U.S. shale oil industry is showing remarkable resilience. Output is at a 30-year high and stockpiles are the largest since tracking started in 2004. Speculators who push down the price of crude see this as evidence of a glut, but it could actually signal desperation on the part of over-leveraged producers.

It seems counterintuitive: Why would shale operators want to oversupply the market and make their product even cheaper? Two analytical papers out this month suggest it's because otherwise they couldn't service their debts.


Bibi’s Ugly Win Will Harm Israel

Bibi's ugly winIsraeli Prime Minister Benjamin (Bibi) Netanyahu won a big election Tuesday, but he won ugly by staking out a new position on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that is likely to harm his nation in the months ahead.

A reckoning is coming—faster than expected—for Netanyahu, his Likud Party and maybe even for the State of Israel itself.

Complete returns showed that Netanyahu’s Likud Party won 29 seats in the Knesset to 24 seats for the Zionist Union (formerly Labor) Party headed by Isaac Herzog, who ran a more spirited campaign than expected but almost certainly fell short of the support necessary to form a government.


Former Connecticut Governor John Rowland Sentenced To 30 Months In Campaign Fraud

Rowlands gets second sentenceJohn G. Rowland, Connecticut's brash ex-governor turned radio commentator, stood again Wednesday in front of a packed courtroom and for the second time in ten years, was sentenced to prison for low rent political crimes, this time for 30 months.

U.S. District Judge Janet Bond Arterton said Rowland showed a striking disregard for the clean election laws while trying to conceal his role as a paid consultant to a 2012 Congressional campaign of Lisa Wilson-Foley.


Former Texas DA admits He Sent Innocent Man To Prison For 25 Yrs; Gets 10 Days In Jail

Texas prosecutor guilty of misconductWe previously discussed the case of former Williamson County District Attorney Ken Anderson who committed various prosecutorial abuses to secure the imprisonment of Michael Morton (shown here), now 58, an innocent man who spent 25 years in jail. This includes a disscussion this weekend on the blog.

He has now pleaded guilty and will received just 10 days in jail as part of his settlement.

Ken Anderson was a judge in Williamson County, Texas and constitutes a relatively rare case where a former prosecutor is actually called to account for such misconduct.


Police: 6 shot, 1 dead in Mesa, Ariz., shootings

Arizona shooting kills 6A gunman shot six people, killing at least one Wednesday morning in Mesa, Ariz. The shooter is still on the loose and police are actively searching for him, according to a Mesa Police Department source.

Police are looking for a white man in his 40s with a neck tattoo, wearing a gray shirt and black shorts or pants.

Police could be seen searching cars and buildings in the area.


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