Tag Archives: greed

The real worst and best cases of climate change

What do you want? The planet Venus? The current degraded Earth? Or a better world we know how to create?

What if it's a big hoax and we create a better world for nothing?
Joel Pett, Lexington Herald Leader, 18 March 2012, The cartoon seen ’round the world

Mostly I post about solar and wind power winning, which is what I think is happening. But sometimes it’s worth a reminder of what could happen if we do nothing about climate change, and I posted on my facebook page a story about that. Which actually didn’t go far enough to the real worst case. Nonetheless, that story has been attacked by numerous parties of all political and scientific and unscientific stripes for being too doom and gloom. Yet none of the attackers bothered to mention a best case beyond “the same world we have now”. I have news for you: the world we have now is an ecological catastrophe, and we can do a lot better. So here’s the real worst case, the current case, which is far from the best of all possible worlds, and the real best case, as I see it. Plus what we can do to head for the best case.

grinning fossilized skull

First, the story I posted: David Wallace-Wells, New York Magazine, 9 July 2017, The Uninhabitable Earth: Famine, economic collapse, a sun that cooks us: What climate change could wreak — sooner than you think. Notice that word “could”, which a lot of his critics seem to have ignored. He didn’t say “will”, and he clearly labeled what he was presenting as worst case scenarios.

In case anybody thinks he was making any of that stuff up, Wallace-Wells has also linked to an annotated version with footnotes for every substantial assertion. The annotated version notes at the top: Continue reading

Land is not just money: appeal tax valuations today

Appeal today if you think there’s more to land (or business) and woods and fields and streams than money, unlike the Tax Assessors, whose revaluation would drive development into agricultural areas of the county where it doesn’t belong, while avoiding populated areas such as the south side of Valdosta. We can expect pipeline companies and utilities from other states to think nothing of pillaging our lands for their profit. We shouldn’t expect that of our neighbors whom we elected Tax Asssessors. If you have affection for your land, your county, your neighborhood, today’s the deadline to appeal your valuation. And there will be an election later.

As Wendell Berry said,

Whatever has happened in what economists call “the economy,” it is generally true that the land economy has been discounted or ignored.

Are the Tax Assessors boomers? Are you a sticker? Wendell Berry explains: Continue reading

CCA charges inmates five days’ pay for one telephone minute

That’s $1 a day in pay and $5 a telephone minute. While CCA is collecting as much as $200 a day per inmate in your tax dollars and CCA’s CEO is compensated $3,266,387 from your tax dollars.

Amanda Peterson Beadle wrote for ThinkProgress 16 November 2011, Private Prison Charges Inmates $5 a Minute for Phone Calls While They Work for $1 a Day

Last year the Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), the nation’s largest private prison company, received $74 million of taxpayers’ money to run immigration detention centers. Georgia, receives $200 a night for each of the 2,000 detainees it holds, and rakes in yearly profits between $35 million and $50 million.

Prisoners held in this remote facility depend on the prison’s phones to communicate with their lawyers and loved ones. Exploiting inmates’ need, CCA charges detainees here $5 per minute to make phone calls. Yet the prison only pays inmates who work at the facility $1 a day. At that rate, it would take five days to pay for just one minute.

They charge for food, too.

And remember, CCA profits from anti-immigration laws, at taxpayer expense:

Recent anti-immigration laws in Alabama (HB56) and Georgia (HB87) guarantee that neighbor facilities will have an influx of “product.” In the past few years, CCA has spent $14.8 million lobbying for anti-immigration laws to ensure they have continuous access to fresh inmates and keep their money racket going. In 2010 CCA CEO Damon T. Hininger received $3,266,387 in total compensation.
Private CEO profit for public injustice. Does that seem right to you?

We don’t need a private prison in Lowndes County, Georgia. Spend those tax dollars on rehabilitation and education instead.


The Real Truth About School Consolidation by Supt. Smith to Lowndes County Schools

Received today. -jsq
Sent: Tue, October 25, 2011 7:55:07 AM
Subject: Letter to the Staff
Attached is a copy a document that was sent to all Lowndes County teachers and staff from Dr. Steve Smith.
Sam Allen
Samuel Allen, Superintendent Emeritus [Valdosta City Schools]
The letter is on the LAKE website. Here are a few excerpts:
REAL TRUTH: Continuing all of the current programs the Valdosta City School System and the Lowndes County School System have would require a millage rate of approximately 24 mills. Considering state law limits us to 21 mills, some programs will be eliminated. The decision to eliminate such programs will be recommended by the Lowndes County Superintendent, subject to final approval by the Lowndes County Board of Education. There will be winners and losers in consolidation and several current successful programs will likely have to go.
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Time to divest from private prison companies

It’s time to stop private prison profiteering by refusing to take their profit: divest private prison company stock from personal, pension, and church funds.

There’s no need to speculate that private prison companies have incentive to keep more people locked up: CCA says so. Kanya D’Almeida wrote for IPS 24 August 2011, ‘Profiteers of Misery’: The U.S. Private Prison Industrial Complex:

CCA’s 2010 annual report states categorically that, “The demand for our facilities and services could be adversely affected by the relaxation of enforcement efforts, leniency in conviction or parole standards and sentencing practices or through the decriminalization of certain activities that are currently proscribed by our criminal laws — for instance, any changes with respect to drugs and controlled substances or illegal immigration could affect the number of persons arrested, convicted, and sentenced, thereby potentially reducing demand for correctional facilities to house them.”

CCA continues, “Legislation has been proposed in numerous jurisdictions that could lower minimum sentences for some non-violent crimes and make more inmates eligible for early release based on good behaviour, (while) sentencing alternatives under consideration could put some offenders on probation who would otherwise be incarcerated. Similarly, reductions in crime rates or resources dedicated to prevent and enforce crime could lead to reductions in arrests, convictions and sentences requiring incarceration at correctional facilities.”

What’s this got to do with Georgia? Continue reading

The mentality that exploits and destroys the natural environment –Wendell Berry

And now a word from Wendell Berry:
The mentality that exploits and destroys the natural environment is the same that abuses racial and economic minorities…. The mentality that destroys a watershed and then panics at the threat of flood is the same mentality that gives institutionalized insult to black people and then panics at the prospect of race riots.
Source: “Think Little” in A Continuous Harmony: Essays Cultural and Agricultural, by Wendell Berry, 1972. Forty years later, that mentality is still a problem.


Michael Bryant: “the appalling silence”

Pastor Michael Bryant expands on his previous letter.


Dear Pastors and fellow laborers in the Gospel of our Lord and Savior,

I was born and raised here in Lowndes County. Today I am as disturbed as I was in 1973 when I, along with 42 other students, four ministers and their wives, were jailed for protesting unfair treatment of students in the Lowndes County School System. We were arrested while standing in the parking lot awaiting to enter the building for a meeting called by the Lowndes County Board of Education at their office on St. Augustine Road. The meeting was supposed to be a good faith gesture designed to mediate an amicable solution to the picketing which had been in process for nearly six months. After being arrested, we were moved from Big 12 in a prison truck in the dead of night. We were to be housed in the Cook County jail and none of our parents knew where we were. When we exited the truck, both sides of the walk way upon which we had to walk were lined with numerous State Troopers and other Law Enforcement officers sporting riot gear and shotguns. On the following day they refused to feed us breakfast. We began to complain and the judge came upstairs dressed in his robe. He said “I want you to stop making noise, and if you don’t, I can make you stop.”

When we complained again, the cell in which we were jailed was sprayed down with tear gas. We had one toilet and one sink in which to clear our eyes. These are facts that went unreported by the papers. In fact they said we were rabble rousers. The late Ralph Harrington signed all our bonds, and we went through a lengthy trial, represented by the late Mr. C. B. King, Sr., of Albany, GA. At the close of the trial all charges were dismissed and expunged from our records.

As a student then, I witnessed the appalling silence of men and women of God who preached the hell out of people on Sundays, collected their checks, and went home untouched by the happenings in the community. This was much like the appalling silence of ministers who sat on the sidelines while Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., placed his life on the line for “the least of these.”

Some years ago, Rev. Floyd Rose, two of my sisters and several other

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Pastor Michael Bryant: the benefits to be realized

Leigh Touchton sent me this today.



This letter is from Pastor Michael Bryant, Webb-Miller Community Church, Hahira. He would like to publish on the LAKE blog. Dr. Manning’s response to Brad Lofton is also for publication.

Thank you,

Given the complexity of the issue facing us as a community with regard to the Biomass Project, it is incumbent upon all parties involved to recognize that while the populations ill-affected will primarily be our children and elderly, the most vulnerable among us, the real issue is the fact that only 25 job are going to be produced. Likewise, if the facts bear out as proclaimed by both or either of the parties involved, and I believe if an error is made, it should be on the side of safety, the benefits to be realized are not nearly as great as the alternative approach provided by a solar energy plant.

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