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July 06, 2013

During this drought, Frackers are using up water that should go to farms

During Record Drought, Frackers Outcompete Farmers for Water Supplies – EcoWatch: Cutting Edge Environmental News Service
“There is a new player for water, which is oil and gas. And certainly they are in a position to pay a whole lot more than we are,” Peppler said. In a normal year, Peppler would pay anywhere from $9 to $100 for an acre-foot of water in auctions held by cities with excess supplies. But these days, energy companies are paying some cities $1,200 to $2,900 per acre-foot. In seven states, including Colorado, Oklahoma, Texas and Wyoming, the vast majority of the counties where fracking is occurring are also suffering from drought, according to an AP analysis of industry-compiled fracking data and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s official drought designations. The persistent U.S. drought wreaked havoc on American agriculture, raising food prices and forcing farmers to make record high insurance claims on lost profits for 2012.

On the Mongolian Neo-Nazis of Ulan Bator

A Mongolian Neo-Nazi Environmentalist Walks into a Lingerie Store in Ulan Bator - In Focus - The Atlantic
Reuters photographer Carlos Barria spent time documenting Mongolian neo-Nazi group Tsagaan Khass, one of several ultra-nationalist groups that have expanded in the country. The 100-plus members of Tsagaan Khass have recently shifted their focus from activities such as attacks on women it accuses of consorting with foreign men to environmental issues. The group is rebranding itself now as an environmentalist organization fighting pollution by foreign-owned mines, seeking legitimacy as it sends Swastika-wearing members to check mining permits.

July 05, 2013

Why are white people so touchy about being called "racist"?

Why Are White People So Touchy About Being Called Racist? | ChangeLab
At the risk of sparking a sh*t storm, here are a couple of proposals. First, I think white people get bent out of shape by the label racist because being able to wield it means that, at least culturally speaking, people of color have power we haven’t traditionally had, specifically because of racism. For generations even looking at a white person in the wrong way could get a person of color fired, harassed, terrorized or even lynched. Going as far as lodging an accusation of any kind against a white person could spark a race riot. . . . That’s my first theory. Here’s the second. Before the fall of Jim Crow, ordinary interpersonal racism was so commonplace that in order to organize against it, racial justice advocates needed another foil. Racism’s terrorist wing: people threatening students integrating Little Rock Central High School, segregationist governors wielding state troopers like clubs, and men like Bull Connor became that foil. I mention Bull Conner by name because the way civil rights activists used his outrageous racism exemplifies this strategy. As the Commissioner of Public Safety for the city of Birmingham, Alabama in 1963, Connor turned attack dogs and fire hoses on children peacefully protesting for civil rights, inadvertently making himself into an international symbol of American racism. This display of naked hatred polarized white people, with many taking the side of civil rights activists in spite of harboring the kind of ordinary racial prejudices that create the climate in which vigilante racists derive their power. Today, when we call out racism, powerful symbols of opposition to racial equality like Bull Connor are invoked. Ordinary racists contrast the everyday prejudice that was, out of necessity, let off the hook in the black struggle for civil rights, against horrific, Bull Connor-style racism. Then, for lack of a better term, they freak out. That’s why I think white people are so touchy. It’s why begging to be understood as “good” and exaggerating the harm done to them by the accusation are so often part of the ritual of denial. They’re, more often than not, genuinely good people stuck in the belief that racists are exotic monsters, who are nonetheless resentful of conceding the privilege of being able to control the public consensus on race to begin with. . . .