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BlueMTexpat

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Gender: Female
Home country: USA
Current location: Switzerland
Member since: Wed Oct 29, 2008, 03:01 PM
Number of posts: 14,000

Journal Archives

How Craft Beer Brewers Brought Bottle Recycling to Montana

http://www.yesmagazine.org/planet/montana-glass-bottle-recycling-craft-brewers-20150827

One BIL is a craft brewer in Billings. This made me think of him.

Cities and states around the nation are struggling to figure out ways to recycle glass without losing money. Glass prices are down, and the cost of hauling is often more than the value of the glass itself.

“There is no state out there that doesn’t have a glass problem,” says Dusti Johnson, a specialist in recycling and market development for Montana’s Department of Environmental Quality. But in Big Sky Country, dealing with discarded bottles is enough of a headache that the state just doesn’t do it. And that bothers a lot of residents.
...
Johnson says that “thousands” of people call her office to complain about the state’s lack of glass recycling, but the money to pay for it hasn’t become available. So far, conversations at the state legislature about raising taxes to pay for glass recycling have always stalled out.

But state-run programs aren’t the only way to keep bottles out of the landfill. Bayern Brewing, in Missoula, has purchased an industrial bottle-washing machine and many of the surrounding breweries have switched to using glass bottles compatible with the washing system. In the past three years, this cooperation between brewers has saved almost 2.5 million bottles from the landfills.


As a kid growing up in North Central MT, I used to make good pocket money from collecting glass bottles left along the RR tracks. In those days, we used to roam freely without fear in such places. I'm not so sure that I'd be as complacent about my grandkids doing so as my parents were with us. Times have changed - even in MT.

A Definitive Guide to the Brexit Negotiations

From the Harvard Business Review ... very informative!

https://hbr.org/2016/08/a-definitive-guide-to-the-brexit-negotiations

...
Because the clock only starts when Article 50 is formally invoked by the UK, there has been some wrangling over when it should occur. There is an option of extending negotiations beyond the two-year time limit, but it requires the consent of all countries in the EU.

Two other points of process are worth mentioning. The first is that many parties within the EU are involved, and because a member state has never exited before, the internal process on the EU’s side of the table is itself being negotiated. The key groups are the European Council, the European Parliament, and the European Commission. (See here to learn more about these three institutions, and here for more information on the role they are expected to play in the negotiations.)

The second issue is more crucial. If the agreement reached between the EU and the UK is broad enough in scope to be considered a “mixed agreement” — which it certainly will be if the parties negotiate not only trade but also security and foreign policy issues — then the agreement will need to be ratified by the parliament of every member state, which means every EU country would have a veto. From a negotiation perspective, this not only increases the amount of time needed to reach a comprehensive agreement but also lessens the likelihood of a deal.

...
Let’s start with some context. The European Union is based on the idea of a single market, characterized by four freedoms. They are the free movement, across borders, of goods, services, capital, and people.

There are three consequences of this arrangement that are of particular relevance to Brexit negotiators: free trade between EU member states (think “tariff free”); businesses in the member states being subject to EU regulations; and citizens of any member state being able to move to another member state to live or work there. All of these were important factors leading up to the Brexit vote, and they are central to the negotiations that will take place between the UK and the EU.

Poll: Clinton Makes Gains Across the Country

http://www.nbcnews.com/politics/2016-election/poll-clinton-makes-gains-across-country-n621581

It was a good week for Hillary Clinton. Not only does the Democratic nominee lead Donald Trump by 8 points, a deeper dive into the latest NBC News|SurveyMonkey Tracking Poll shows that Clinton received a bounce across the entire country — making gains in every census region.

Winning the presidency requires securing Electoral College votes across a geographic range of states, so it is important to understand candidate support across different regions in the country. Below is a break out of our Tracking Poll results by Census region.


The link contains some good graphs as well.

“We were supposed to make that sort of speech."

http://election.princeton.edu/2016/07/28/obamas-convention-speech/#more-16571

Sam Wang gets permission to post a tweet from a GOP Rep about Prez O's Convention Speech.

In case you missed it, it’s here. A must-watch speech for members of either party. President Obama is appealing to patriotism and love of country, and making a move to scoop up voters across the spectrum.

Native Candidates Make a Historic Push for Congress

This is cross-posted in the Montana Group. http://www.democraticunderground.com/1062470

http://www.yesmagazine.org/people-power/denise-juneau-and-a-historic-push-for-congress-20160726

Standing in front of her high school English class on the Fort Berthold Reservation in North Dakota for the first time, Denise Juneau was struck by the responsibility. Looking at the sea of faces in front of her, she knew many of them faced challenges that posed barriers to their education, but she also knew that, as a teacher, she was in a position to help.

That was 20 years ago, when Juneau, an enrolled member of the Mandan-Hidatsa tribes, was about to embark on a lifelong career in education.

“I have a deep respect for teachers,” she says—a respect that she believes has informed her two terms as Montana’s superintendent of public instruction.

That job—to which she was first elected in 2008—made Juneau the first Native American woman in the country to win statewide executive office, and now she’s attempting to make history once again. One hundred years after Montana voters elected the first woman to Congress, the state’s voters may make Juneau, 49, the first Native American woman to serve there.



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You can donate to Denise Juneau's campaign here: https://denisejuneau.com/

Native Candidates Make a Historic Push for Congress

As the presidential race has demonstrated, 2016 is the year for outsiders, and no group can be considered further from the establishment than Native Americans.

http://www.yesmagazine.org/people-power/denise-juneau-and-a-historic-push-for-congress-20160726

Standing in front of her high school English class on the Fort Berthold Reservation in North Dakota for the first time, Denise Juneau was struck by the responsibility. Looking at the sea of faces in front of her, she knew many of them faced challenges that posed barriers to their education, but she also knew that, as a teacher, she was in a position to help.

That was 20 years ago, when Juneau, an enrolled member of the Mandan-Hidatsa tribes, was about to embark on a lifelong career in education.

“I have a deep respect for teachers,” she says—a respect that she believes has informed her two terms as Montana’s superintendent of public instruction.

That job—to which she was first elected in 2008—made Juneau the first Native American woman in the country to win statewide executive office, and now she’s attempting to make history once again. One hundred years after Montana voters elected the first woman to Congress, the state’s voters may make Juneau, 49, the first Native American woman to serve there.

Kweisi Mfume calls chanting over Elijah Cummings a 'low point' in convention

http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/politics/blog/bal-kweisi-mfume-calls-chanting-over-elijah-cummings-a-low-point-in-convention-20160726-story.html

Some may have moved beyond this and, if so, I congratulate them. But I am especially pissed because Elijah is MY Rep and he is a good one. So I am going to paraphrase Skinner's formulation to show my own feelings about it: Those assholes who shouted down Elijah Cummings on Monday night - or any other, FWIW - are assholes indeed.

If I personally ever meet one of those assholes, this 70+ great-grandmother will be very happy to give him/her the long overdue tongue-lashing he/she most certainly deserves for such behavior. Otherwise it will be left to karma and karma can be a real downer.

From the link:

Shortly after Cummings took the stage early Monday evening, Sanders delegates began yelling "No TPP," referencing the pending Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade agreement with Pacific Rim nations. The chants were heard not only in the Wells Fargo Center but also on television.

"It was downright disrespectful," said Mfume, a delegate for Hillary Clinton. "I think it does not necessarily help the relations that Bernie's people may have with the larger African American community...that, for me, was a low point."

6 Habits of Highly Empathetic People

According to new research, empathy is a habit we can cultivate to improve the quality of our own lives. But what is empathy? And how can you expand your own empathetic potential?

http://www.yesmagazine.org/happiness/6-habits-of-highly-empathetic-people

If you think you’re hearing the word “empathy” everywhere, you’re right. It’s now on the lips of scientists and business leaders, education experts and political activists. But there is a vital question that few people ask: How can I expand my own empathic potential? Empathy is not just a way to extend the boundaries of your moral universe. According to new research, it’s a habit we can cultivate to improve the quality of our own lives.

But what is empathy? It’s the ability to step into the shoes of another person, aiming to understand their feelings and perspectives, and to use that understanding to guide our actions. That makes it different from kindness or pity. And don’t confuse it with the Golden Rule, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” As George Bernard Shaw pointed out, “Do not do unto others as you would have them do unto you—they might have different tastes.” Empathy is about discovering those tastes.

The big buzz about empathy stems from a revolutionary shift in the science of how we understand human nature. The old view that we are essentially self-interested creatures is being nudged firmly to one side by evidence that we are also homo empathicus, wired for empathy, social cooperation, and mutual aid.

Over the last decade, neuroscientists have identified a 10-section “empathy circuit” in our brains which, if damaged, can curtail our ability to understand what other people are feeling. Evolutionary biologists like Frans de Waal have shown that we are social animals who have naturally evolved to care for each other, just like our primate cousins. And psychologists have revealed that we are primed for empathy by strong attachment relationships in the first two years of life.


The End Of A Republican Party

Racial and cultural resentment have replaced the party’s small government ethos.

http://fivethirtyeight.com/features/the-end-of-a-republican-party/

While I can't say that I am not happy to see the GOP implode, articles like this make it even more important for Dems to be unified and GOTV for Hillary and Dem candidates in November. If a party with an extremely flawed candidate and a far-right social and political agenda can still pull off a win, then the phrase "complete and utter disaster" cannot be considered hyperbolic in any way.

But it is very sad to see a party that began the 20th-century with liberal ideals - and then began casting them aside bit by bit until Reagan finally killed whatever was left - become the bigoted, racist, POS party that the GOP has become today.

Moments of historical change in the course of a party’s life can be difficult to spot. In “Party Ideologies in America, 1828-1996,” political scientist John Gerring marks the beginning of the modern Republican Party as Herbert Hoover’s shifting campaign rhetoric in 1928 and 1932, when he talked more about the virtues of the American home and family than hard-tack economics. Hoover’s oratory about the progress of the individual being threatened by an overzealous government bureaucracy stuck around for the next eight decades, and the wisdom of generations has helped us discern that this was indeed the start of a new Republican era.

The shock of 2016, though, is just how self-evident the inflection point at which the Republican Party finds itself is; Trump is a one-man crisis for the GOP. The party has been growing more conservative and less tolerant of deviations from doctrine over the past decades, so what does it mean that a man who has freely eschewed conservative orthodoxy on policy is now the Republicans’ standard-bearer?

Many have assumed that adherence to a certain conservative purity was the engine of the GOP, and given the party’s demographic homogeneity, this made sense. But re-evaluating recent history in light of Trump, and looking a bit closer at this year’s numbers, something else seems to be the primary motivator of GOP voters, something closer to the neighborhood of cultural conservatism and racial and economic grievance rather than a passion for small government.


?quality=90&strip=all&w=1024&ssl=1

Of course she does.

Fox News’ Greta Van Susteren Backs Her Boss, Roger Ailes, in Gretchen Carlson Lawsuit

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2016/07/08/fox-news-greta-van-susteren-backs-her-boss-roger-ailes-in-gretchen-carlson-lawsuit.html

Greta Van Susteren and I have ONE thing in common. We both attended the same law school. She was a halfway decent commentator at CNN. But she lost all credibility with me when she joined Faux Snooze years ago and had plastic surgery to do so. Frankly, I thought that she looked better before.

The 62-year-old Van Susteren—who gave up her Washington law practice 22 years ago to become a fulltime television legal expert on CNN , and next January celebrates her 15th anniversary at Fox News—said she decided to speak up for her boss on her own, and was not asked to do so either by Ailes or the Fox News media relations department.

She said she hasn’t even spoken to Ailes in the past two days.

“I have a very long-term deal,” she said about her arrangement with the conservative-leaning cable news network, adding that if she ever loses her show on Fox she’ll be happy to return to teaching at Georgetown or re-enter law practice.

“I have no reason to curry favor with Roger Ailes. I can assure you that there’s nothing Roger can do for me or against me. My contract is with the corporation. I’m not trying to get a new one.”
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