Hawaii’s iconic Waikiki Beach could soon be underwater as rising sea levels caused by climate change overtake its white sand beaches and bustling city streets.


Predicting Honolulu will start experiencing frequent flooding within the next 15 to 20 years, state lawmakers are trying to pass legislation that would spend millions for a coastline protection program aimed at defending the city from regular tidal inundations.


The highest tides of recent years have sent seawater flowing across Waikiki Beach and onto roads and sidewalks lining its main thoroughfare, and interactive maps of the Hawaiian Islands show that many parts of the state are expected to be hit by extensive flooding, coastal erosion and loss of infrastructure in coming decades.


That’s an alarming scenario for a state where beach tourism is the primary driver of the economy, leading some lawmakers to insist that planning for rising tides should start now.


“The latest data on sea level rise is quite scary and it’s accelerating faster than we ever thought possible,” said state Rep. Chris Lee, a Democrat and lead author of a bill calling for the creation and implementation of the shoreline protection plan. The project would focus on urban Honolulu but act as a pilot program for other coastal communities around the state.


While Hawaii is rarely subjected to direct hurricane hits, Lee’s bill says warmer oceans will increase that risk by creating “more hurricanes of increasing intensity” — and estimates the impact of a major hurricane making landfall at $40 billion.


“The loss of coastal property and infrastructure, increased cost for storm damage and insurance, and loss of life are inevitable if nothing is done, which will add a significant burden to local taxpayers, the state’s economy, and way of life,” says Lee’s bill, which is similar to action taken by New York City after a storm surge from Superstorm Sandy led to $19 billion in damage in 2012.


The Hawaii measure proposes sinking $4 million into the program’s development over the next two years. The bill also seeks more research into a carbon tax that might raise funds and lower the state’s dependence on fossil fuels.


In a state dominated by Democrats that is regularly at the vanguard of U.S. efforts to address climate issues, Lee said the legislation proved popular. A version of the bill has passed both chambers of Hawaii’s Legislature. House and Senate leaders will convene in the coming weeks to discuss final changes before sending the bill to Gov. David Ige, a Democrat. His office has declined comment on whether he will sign it.


The bill is moving forward two years after a state-mandated sea level rise adaptation report was made public to act as a guideline for future legislative action and planning.


Research included in the report suggests Hawaii will see a 3-foot (0.9 meters) rise in ocean levels by the end of this century. It predicts that more than 6,000 of the state’s buildings and 20,000 people across all of Hawaii’s islands will experience chronic flooding. Dozens of miles of roadways, utility infrastructure and beaches will be washed away, the report said. The state’s ports and low-laying airports are also highly vulnerable.


The report was updated in September to included newly published research warning that previous estimates of inundation areas in Hawaii were underestimated by 35% to 54%.

Posted by: maboulette | April 9, 2019

Treasury Will ‘Follow The Law’ With Trump Tax Returns


Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin says it’s his department’s “intent to follow the law” in responding to the request by House Democrats to release President Trump’s tax returns.


During a budget hearing on Capitol Hill, Mnuchin was asked by Rep. Mike Quigley (D-Illinois) if he would be involved in the decision on whether to release the returns in light of a request by the House Ways and Means Committee. Quigley cited a “longstanding (IRS) delegation order that the secretary does not get involved in taxpayer specific manners.”


Mnuchin said he was “not surprised” by the question and said it was “better we get this out.”  “I want to acknowledge we did receive the request and as I’ve said in the past when we received the request, it would be reviewed by our legal department, and it is our intent to follow the law. And that is in the process of being reviewed,” Mnuchin stated. 


Last week, House Ways and Means Chairman Richard Neal sent a formal request to the IRS for six years of Mr. Trump’s tax returns, arguing the committee “has a responsibility to conduct oversight of our voluntary Federal tax system and determine how Americans — including those elected to our highest office — are complying with those laws.”


The president responded by saying he’s under audit — which he has consistently said when asked — and “would not be inclined” to release his returns until the audit is completed. Individuals under audit are free to release their tax returns.


Asked if he would personally be reviewing the request, Mnuchin testified that it would be “premature” to reveal just what the legal team would be reviewing or not reviewing. He later told the committee that he had not spoken to White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney or the president about the decision to review the Democrats’ request, despite Mulvaney vowing on “Fox News Sunday” that Democrats would “never” obtain Mr. Trump’s tax returns. 

Posted by: maboulette | April 8, 2019

One Of The Safest City In The United States


Number 5 in the safe cities to visit is down in the Lone Star State. Round Rock is fairly close to Austin, which has a good reputation on its own, though it doesn’t seem like Round Rock needs the help. The city’s parks routinely win awards, opportunities for businesses and residents alike are plentiful, and long-term planning is a point of pride. At the rate Round Rock is growing, while also maintaining its safety and resident satisfaction, it’ll be a utopia before long.

Posted by: maboulette | April 3, 2019

Latest On Mueller Report

trump bad week

WASHINGTON — Some of Robert S. Mueller III’s investigators have told associates that Attorney General William P. Barr failed to adequately portray the findings of their inquiry and that they were more troubling for President Trump than Mr. Barr indicated, according to government officials and others familiar with their simmering frustrations.


At stake in the dispute — the first evidence of tension between Mr. Barr and the special counsel’s office — is who shapes the public’s initial understanding of one of the most consequential government investigations in American history. Some members of Mr. Mueller’s team are concerned that, because Mr. Barr created the first narrative of the special counsel’s findings, Americans’ views will have hardened before the investigation’s conclusions become public.


Mr. Barr has said he would move quickly to release the nearly 400-page report but needed time to scrub out confidential information. The special counsel’s investigators had already written multiple summaries of the report, and some team members believe that Mr. Barr should have included more of their material in the four-page letter he wrote on March 24 laying out their main conclusions, according to government officials familiar with the investigation. Mr. Barr only briefly cited the special counsel’s work in his letter.


However, the special counsel’s office never asked Mr. Barr to release the summaries soon after he received the report, a person familiar with the investigation said. And the Justice Department quickly determined that the summaries contain sensitive information, like classified material, secret grand-jury testimony and information related to current federal investigations that must remain confidential, according to two government officials.


Mr. Barr was also wary of departing from Justice Department practice not to disclose derogatory details in closing an investigation, according to two government officials familiar with Mr. Barr’s thinking. They pointed to the decision by James B. Comey, the former F.B.I. director, to harshly criticize Hillary Clinton in 2016 while announcing that he was recommending no charges in the inquiry into her email practices.


The officials and others interviewed declined to flesh out why some of the special counsel’s investigators viewed their findings as potentially more damaging for the president than Mr. Barr explained, although the report is believed to examine Mr. Trump’s efforts to thwart the investigation. It was unclear how much discussion Mr. Mueller and his investigators had with senior Justice Department officials about how their findings would be made public. It was also unclear how widespread the vexation is among the special counsel team, which included 19 lawyers, about 40 F.B.I. agents and other personnel.

Posted by: maboulette | March 8, 2019

A Really Bad Week

trump bad week

Fox News analyst and former judge Andrew Napolitano warned that President Donald Trump had a bad week the likes of which he won’t survive again. 


Napolitano recapped the prior week in the conservative Washington Times on Wednesday, describing how Trump failed to reach a nuclear disarmament deal with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un and saw his former personal lawyer Michael Cohen accused him of crimes during congressional testimony.


On top of that, the House of Representatives moved to block Trump’s declaration of a national emergency on the U.S.-Mexico border, and The New York Times reported that Trump had overruled intelligence agencies to demand his son-in-law obtain a security clearance, despite concerns. Oh, and Democrats launched a widespread investigation into Trump, his family and his business dealings, which resulted in document requests from 81 individuals, entities and agencies close to the president ― including his two sons.


“The president has serious and powerful tormentors whom he cannot overcome by mockery alone. He needs to do more than demean them with acerbic tweets, because many of those tormentors can legally cause him real harm,” Napolitano wrote. “Can President Trump survive all this? Yes — but not if he has another week like the last one.”


Posted by: maboulette | March 7, 2019

Celebrating Women’s History Month


Astronauts Anne McClain and Christina Koch, along with flight controller Jackie Kagey, are set to conduct the International Space Station spacewalk on March 29.


NASA plans to conduct its first all-female spacewalk later in March during Women’s History Month. 


The International Space Station spacewalk, part of Expedition 59, is scheduled for March 29, and will include astronauts Anne McClain and Christina Koch, as well as Jackie Kagey as the lead EVA, or spacewalk, flight controller, NASA told HuffPost on Wednesday. The spacewalk will last around seven hours, according to NASA’s website.


“The March 29 spacewalk will be the first with only women,” NASA spokeswoman Kathryn Hambleton said, hedging that “assignments and schedules could always change.”   “It was not orchestrated to be this way; these spacewalks were originally scheduled to take place in the fall,” Hambleton added.


The on-the-ground flight control team at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston will include lead flight director Mary Lawrence and NASA engineer Kristen Facciol. 


Facciol tweeted her excitement last week, writing, “I just found out that I’ll be on console providing support for the FIRST ALL FEMALE SPACEWALK with @AstroAnnimal and @Astro_Christina and I can not contain my excitement!!!!”


Spacewalks are somewhat rare and are usually done for reasons that include exterior work on a spacecraft or satellite, or testing new equipment. 


McClain is currently on the International Space Station as part of Expedition 58. Koch is set to leave Earth on March 14 to join Expeditions 59 and 60. McClain, Koch and Kagey are all from the 2013 astronaut class, which NASA told HuffPost was 50-percent women.  



Posted by: maboulette | February 26, 2019

Al Gore Claims Climate Change Is Responsible For Migrant Caravans

al gore

Former Vice President Al Gore appeared on The Circus Sunday night and reiterated his belief that climate change is responsible for the migrant caravans from Central America heading to the U.S. To prove his point Gore showed an area, spanning several countries, that is known as the Dry Corridor, part of which is so dry it’s gone an entire year without a harvest. This, according to Gore, is where the journey begins for many migrants.


“The drought becomes unbearable, so they pick up stakes and they say, ‘We can’t live here,’” Gore said. “First of all, they leave their farms and go to these cities, and they run into these criminal gangs, and they say, ‘We can’t handle this.’ And they head on north.”


If what Gore says is true, the caravans won’t be stopping anytime soon — not just from Central America to the U.S., but all over the world.


“The estimates are that in this century there could be as many as 1 billion climate refugees migrating across borders to other countries,” Gore said. “That’s a threat to political stability and peace.”


Donald Trump, and many other Republicans, deny that climate change is real, or at the very least deny that humans are responsible for the speed at which it’s happening. But according to Gore, there are those who say one thing in public and something entirely different in private.

“There are a lot of Republicans who I know who understand the climate crisis,” he said. “But if they say they’re on my side of this, then they get a primary opponent, and so they keep quiet about it.”

The Circus airs Sundays at 8 p.m. on Showtime.

Read More…

fast food

Jonathan Reiner, the longtime cardiologist of former Vice President Dick Cheney, sounded the alarm bells on the Trump White House refusing so far to release any medical data from President Donald Trump’s physical examination that took place last week.


Taking to Twitter, Reiner writes that, “it’s been four days since the president underwent his annual physical exam and still no data has been released.”   He then asks, “What are they hiding?”


Last Friday, presidential physician Dr. Sean Conley announced that Trump was “in very good health” while also projecting that “he will remain so for the duration of his presidency, and beyond.”


However, no other information or data about the results of the examination has been released, which is a contrast to the president’s first annual exam that offered some details about Trump’s cardiac health, blood pressure and mental acuity.


Dr. Ronny Jackson, who at the time served as Trump’s physician, said the president was in excellent health but could stand to lose some weight. Overall, the president was listed at 239 pounds, or exactly one pound below the obesity level for a man of his height.


Posted by: maboulette | February 12, 2019

Trump Supporter in MAGA Hat Attacks BBC Cameraman at Rally

Trump rally

A screaming Trump supporter in a red Make America Great Again hat attacked a BBC cameraman during the president’s Monday night rally in El Paso.


Footage of the incident shows the BBC’s Ron Skeans being shoved off balance before the man is pulled away by security while screaming “F ck the media.”


Trump supporters near the attack can be heard chanting “Leave him alone.” Skeans told the BBC the “very hard shove” came from his blindside and he “didn’t know what was going on.”


The reporter who was with Skeans, BBC Washington Editor Eleanor Montague, said: “The crowd had been whipped up into a frenzy against the media by Trump and other speakers all night.” A Trump campaign official suggested the attacker was drunk. The president reportedly checked Skeans was OK with a thumbs-up, and continued on with his speech after the cameraman returned the gesture.




The President Is Reducing the Intelligence Apparatus That Can Prevent a Crisis from Becoming a Catastrophe.


On January 26, 2 Russian TU-160 Blackjack strategic bombers buzzed North America. American and Canadian fighter jets quickly scrambled to escort them away, in what was just the latest game of aerial chicken between Moscow and the West. Nuclear-capable Russian bombers also evaded the Alaska coast in both September and May of last year, every time diverted and chased out by U.S. fighters. Putin’s message is clear: Russia is a great nation and the United States is vulnerable.


 Such close encounters have occurred occasionally since the Cold War. So far, these close calls, sometimes measured in yards and feet, have not resulted in disaster. But they easily could. If so, how would things play out? Is the Trump admin capable of handling a serious international crisis thoughtfully and systematically?


A head-on collision between U.S. and Russian or Chinese warfighting assets could easily spiral into a Guns of August-style avalanche toward armed conflict. Just as feckless European powers a century ago let the assassination of a Balkan archduke lead to world war, an incompetent U.S. president, dismissive of his national security apparatus and operating in a policy vacuum, puts our security at serious risk. As President John F. Kennedy once said, “Domestic policy can only defeat us. Foreign policy can kill us.”


In December, President Donald Trump reversed U.S. policy on Syria and Afghanistan, withdrawing all U.S. military personnel from the former and half from the latter. There were no policy discussions with the Pentagon, State Department, or even within the National Security Council. The intelligence agencies were not asked for their input. Nor were Congressional or international allies consulted, much less the Afghan government or Syrian opposition forces. It was off-the-cuff policymaking at the touch of Trump’s Twitter finger.


Since he came into office, this president has been at odds with his own government, likening the intelligence community to “Nazis,” attacking the FBI and justice system, demeaning cabinet secretaries and other senior officials to the point of their quitting or being fired.


James Mattis, Trump’s former defense chief, was the latest to leave, following the decisions on Syria and Afghanistan.  Last week, Trump called his intel chiefs “extremely passive and naïve” and suggested they “go back to school” in response to the latest Worldwide Threat Assessment report, the intelligence community’s comprehensive overview of significant threats to our national security, which happens to contradict the president’s alternative facts, notably regarding Iran, ISIS, North Korea, and Russia. In an astonishing and unparalleled move, the president’s intelligence briefers warned, anonymously, that his rejection of intelligence is threatening our country. “When it comes to the effective stewardship of our nation’s security—especially during crises—the most successful administrations had three things in common: people, process and policy,” notes President Obama’s former Deputy National Security Advisor Anthony Blinken. In the Trump administration all three are severely lacking.


In terms of senior policy personnel, the Trump administration resembles a ghost ship more than a fully functioning executive branch: nearly 40 percent of top government positions remain unfilled, including a third of the nearly 200 senior policy jobs in the State Department; thirty-one ambassadorships are vacant; political appointees, often unqualified campaign contributors and cronies, comprise fully half of the rest; and a quarter of cabinet-level departments are headed by “acting” secretaries, according to the Partnership for Public Service. What’s more, there has been a record two-thirds turnover in senior White House staff, including three national security advisors since Trump came into office.

 If this doesn’t scare you – nothing will!


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