Thursday, May 28, 2015

Sunday, May 24, 2015

The French Model: Will Climate Change Spark a World Wide Revolution?

by Nomad

Global warming Revolution Food

Can we afford to ignore the growing impact of climate change on the stability of nations? Are we facing the potential of a global chaos that will make the French Revolution look like a playground squabble?

On the Brink
Scientists tell us that the world stands on the brink of a radical shifting of the global climate patterns.  From the data, we can at the very least assume, the effects will be unpredictable and it is very likely that there will be more losers than winners.

However, if you think that those dire predictions lay in the distant future, you would be incorrect. A report from the UN's climate science panel last year noted that climate change has already cut into the global food supply. What caught the attention of the government officials from 115 countries who reviewed the report was a blunt and categorical statement. 
Climate change, the report warned, could threaten all aspects of global food security. At this time there was enough evidence, the scientists said to say "for certain that climate change is affecting food production on land and sea." 
That is not based on projections but effects found in real-time.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Reflections on an Ungrateful Nation

by Nomad

In free countries, it is natural to complain about how the nation is being run. The public must hold high standards when it comes to the kind of government it expects. However, that shouldn't mean being blind when things are done properly. It should not mean refusing to give credit when it is due.

Not long ago I saw this newspaper clipping (on the left) and it started me thinking about the negative attitude of so many Americans.

"The hardest arithmetic to master," said Eric Hoffer, "is that which enables us to count our blessings."  
When you listen to people talking you start to wonder how this nation became such a collection of complainers and pampered brats.  

A recent poll by USA Today/Pew Research Center shows Americans say the biggest problem facing the country today is the state of the economy. And yet, so many Americans still seem ungrateful even as things have begun looking brighter on that front. 
After some somewhat less than sterling numbers at the beginning of the year, analysts saw the U.S. labor market "snap back from another brutal winter with a return to healthy job growth." Last month, initial claims for unemployment benefits fell to the lowest level in 15 years. 

Monday, May 11, 2015

"Coal Rolling " Ban Exposes New Jersey Governor Chris Christie's Air Quality Hypocrisy

by Nomad

Although the air quality in New Jersey is a serious problem, Governor Christie's sweetheart relationship with the Koch brothers doesn't give him a lot of authority to do much about his state's air pollution problem. Not when so much of the problem blows in from Koch country.
So what's a presidential hopeful to do? Go after the small fish, of course. 

When it comes to air quality standards, New Jersey has a serious problem. That's according to the American Lung Association which  grades every county in the nation on its air quality and ozone levels. They found that as in past years the Garden State remains among the nation’s worst for pollution.

Poisons Blowing in the Wind
In fact, New Jersey is not alone. The survey found 42 percent of the nation’s population live in counties that have unhealthy levels of either ozone or particle pollution. The ironic part is that the state or county that produces the pollution may not experience the damaging effects.
Experts say that New Jersey's problem is "a combination of locally produced pollution and pollution that travels.”

That means no one governor or state legislature can do much about the problem. It requires joint action from those states who -literally- get the fallout of other states that pollute. In a country as fractured as the US, working together for a regional solution in bipartisan way is nothing but an exercise in nostalgia and idealism.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

The Surprising Connections You Might Not Know Between Religion and Income Inequality

by Nomad

Religion may be the "opiate of the masses" but there's another side to this story and it's not pretty. If religion is indeed a drug, then who are the drug dealers? This post looks at the interesting connections between the ruling class, religiosity, and inequality.

Rich People, Poor People, and Religion

A recent study in the Social Science Quarterly reaches some interesting and unexpected conclusions about the relationship between income inequality and the rise of religion.
The authors of  the article Economic Inequality, Relative Power, and Religiosity analyzed countries around the world the levels of income equality and the level of religiosity over a two-decade span. Their conclusions are worth a closer look. 

Let's start by defining the terms. What exactly is religiosity anyway? The sociological term "religiosity" can be considered the overall religiousness of a given culture or nation or group. In other words, the degree in which religion affects our day-to-day life. 

In the study, there were twelve benchmarks, from the percentage of people who felt that religion played an important factor in their lives to a percentage of people who took time to pray, those that believed in Hell and sin and the number of people that believed in a Divine power. This evidence was matched with the levels of income inequality in the same countries.

Some of the findings in the study were less than surprising. For example, the authors found that Muslim countries were considerably more religious than other religious societies, and Catholic and Orthodox societies were more religious than Protestant ones. The lowest religiosity was found among Communist or formerly Communist countries.
Nothing shocking there.

The Surprising Thing

Other things they found confirmed what many of us tend to believe anyway. The study determined, for instance, that there is a very strong relationship between how economically developed a country is and its religiosity: less developed countries are significantly more religious.