Friday, June 21, 2024

Bits 'n pieces from east, west and beyond

| July 13, 2021 7:00 AM

East, west or beyond, sooner or later events elsewhere may have a local impact. A recent sampling:

The latest disinformation and conspiracy theory has Donald Trump being reinstated as president in August. Politico says the Department of Homeland Security is worried about the potential for violence when his ascension fails to occur. A recent Monmouth poll says 32 percent of Americans believe Joe Biden is president because of voter fraud, the same percentage found in November.

Hundreds of North Americans died from heat-related illnesses recently due to the massive heat wave that hit the Pacific Northwest and far southwest Canada, Yale Climate Connections reported. A high of 121 Fahrenheit was registered in Lytton, B.C. That province reported 486 sudden deaths, triple the norm for this time of year. Many had underlying health conditions and died alone, without help from air conditioning or fans. Most records were broken by 9 degrees Fahrenheit.

The downtown area of Annapolis, Md., flooded 65 times in 2019. Since then, the Union of Concerned Scientists said the city has sued fossil fuel companies to pay for the damages for their significant role in climate-driven damages.

With bipartisan support, Maine recently signed into law the nation’s strongest restrictions on bee-killing neonicotinoids. According to, the new law prohibits use of neonicotinoids for residential landscapes. Toxic neonicotinoids used on plants contaminate nectar, pollen, soil and groundwater long after use. Scientific evidence links them to massive die-offs in both honeybees and native bees.

Even with glyphosate removed from Roundup, it still kills bumblebees with a 96 percent mortality rate, according to a new study found in the Journal of Applied Ecology.

When 80-acre Soul Fire Farm near Albany, N.Y., was bought it wasn’t exactly prime agricultural land. Resource extraction had left it degraded and eroded. But after four years of intensive restorative work using ancestral practices, organic matter, terraces, no till, animals, cover crops and raised beds, the ultimate soil test occurred: torrential rains from Hurricane Sandy. Neighboring farms lost all their topsoil, and their crops washed away, but Soul Fire’s high organic matter resulted in soil retention and minimal crop damage, the Union of Concerned Scientists magazine recently reported.

Five Congressional Republicans helped negotiate an infrastructure bill that includes funding for road and bridge repairs, replacing lead pipes (to some 10 million households), modernizing the electric grid, capping methane leaks on corporate-abandoned wells, upgrades for railroads, airports and public transportation and high speed Internet to rural areas. The bill lacks a few measures Republicans resisted, like investing in human infrastructure through initiatives focused on childcare and clean energy, and upping the corporate tax rate, but those are included in the American Families Plan. President Joe Biden said he would not sign one without the other. Historian Heather Cox Richardson says the bills are reminiscent of the post-World War II Congress, when attention was on infrastructure, civil rights and social safety nets.

Raising the corporate tax rate to 28 percent will still be less than what it was pre-Trump, Americans for Tax Fairness said. But that increase can raise $4 trillion for federal revenues.

Plans have been announced in U.S. Congress to ask CEOs of fossil fuel companies to testify about their role in blocking action on climate change, Democracy Now reported. The action follows release of a video of two top lobbyists discussing Exxon’s efforts. Those interviewed thought recruitment consultants were recording them. Speaking freely, the lobbyists admitted to working hard to undermine the Biden Administration’s infrastructure plan, which includes increases in taxes for large corporations and emissions reductions. Those the lobbyists cited as likely to help them undermine climate restoration efforts included Republicans lawmakers and a few moderate Democrats.

Blast from the past: As the Chinese proverb goes, “More powerful than any army is an idea whose time has arrived.”