How much is your vote worth?

first_img Support conservation and fish with NEW Florida specialty license plate Reply Well, if there were, say, 30,000 of those folks in states like Pa and Wisconsin, they could have changed the outcome of the election. As far as the elephant in the room, the Electoral College, I for one DO NOT want states like California and NY driving politics for the entire country based on their large populations. Every State in the Union should have a say in the Presidential Election. The anatomy of a voteOpinion By Greg Jackson, Esq.A few days ago, I found myself in an Apopka-area chain drug store speaking to a young man about a number of topics: sports, school, music, and then somehow the conversation turned to politics. After expressing his displeasure with the outcome of the most recent elections, the young man said, “it doesn’t matter to me anyway, because I don’t vote.”Greg JacksonI was a bit taken aback by his nonchalant, matter-of-fact way of admitting to me that he willingly gave up a right that so many fought and died for. But, I resisted the urge to say what was truly on my mind and simply asked “why not?” The young man expressed a view that far too many young people are taking in this age and told me that he didn’t vote because he felt his vote did not matter and would not have counted. He told me that he would not vote until he knew his vote would put who he wanted in office and accomplished what was important to him.It was at that moment that I realized what the true problem may be with young voters or those who turn their backs on the political process. Aside from being turned off by the tactics and antics of some political groups and candidates who only come around during election time to pander for votes, many young people view their votes as this mystical-thing that can grant wishes. They feel that their singular vote should be able to put people with their ideas in office. They feel that their vote should change overnight the condition of entire communities. They feel that their vote should entitle them to make all the ills of the world disappear and life will be as easy as pie.But, in actuality a vote is quite simply a formal expression of opinion or choice, either positive or negative, made by an individual or body of individuals. It is a right and privilege bestowed upon all eligible citizens of this great Country of ours. A vote is a very personal thing that is not to be wasted, compromised or taken advantage of. A vote is not a magic wand that you wave to create a better life; it is, however, a mechanism through which change has been brought about. The best we can hope for is that we live in a society where a collection of likeminded people see things (i.e., issues, candidates etc.) the same way and their collective voices will come together to bring about change. Whether good, bad or indifferent we have seen what singular voices coming together can do in 2008, 2012 and 2016.To those who are reluctant to vote, what I say is this, always cast a vote, express yourself through this process. The fact that people try to control communities by controlling votes should be an indication of its importance. But what makes a vote important is not that it can be controlled. What makes a vote important is that it is uniquely and distinctly yours to express how you want to shape society. Your vote is an extension of you and is your contribution to becoming an agent of change for the greater good of all. The worst thing you could ever do is silence yourself by failing to vote; even if things don’t turn out how you want them to, at least you can say you expressed yourself.Greg Jackson is a past Assistant Attorney General for the State of Florida, military veteran, current Orange County District 2 Representative on the Board of Zoning Adjustments, and General Counsel for the Community Redevelopment Agency. He has been as an active member of the Central Florida community for nearly 20 years. He was most recently a candidate for the Florida House District 45 seat. Free webinar for job seekers on best interview answers, hosted by Goodwill June 11 December 5, 2016 at 2:24 pm Reply Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. Joe Please enter your comment! 2 COMMENTScenter_img Share on Facebook Tweet on Twitter Mama Mia I can certainly identify with people who say their votes didn’t matter, and that is the majority of voters who did go vote! So I can certainly more than understand this young man’s point of view about why he does not vote. Sad. The Anatomy of Fear LEAVE A REPLY Cancel reply You have entered an incorrect email address! Please enter your email address here Please enter your name here December 8, 2016 at 11:31 am TAGSGreg Jackson Previous articleWolf Lake Beta Club goes to NationalsNext articleAPD releases details of Dexter Hughley Shooting Denise Connell RELATED ARTICLESMORE FROM AUTHORlast_img read more

Two neurological charities fundraise with celebrity doodlers

first_img  30 total views,  1 views today AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to EmailEmailShare to WhatsAppWhatsAppShare to MessengerMessengerShare to MoreAddThis AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to EmailEmailShare to WhatsAppWhatsAppShare to MessengerMessengerShare to MoreAddThis About Howard Lake Howard Lake is a digital fundraising entrepreneur. Publisher of UK Fundraising, the world’s first web resource for professional fundraisers, since 1994. Trainer and consultant in digital fundraising. Founder of Fundraising Camp and co-founder of GoodJobs.org.uk. Researching massive growth in giving. Tagged with: Celebrity Events Two neurological charities fundraise with celebrity doodlerscenter_img A separate competition gives pupils and teachers the chance to win an interactive white board for their school. Businesses, brownie packs and sports clubs are also being encouraged to hold their own National Doodle Day competitions.The event has raised has raised £80,000 since its launch in 2004. Howard Lake | 17 February 2006 | News Epilepsy Action and The Neurofibromatosis Association are urging people to put pen to paper for the third National Doodle Day on March 3.The theme of this year’s competition is ‘Puzzles, Patterns, Portraits, Pets and Passions. Around 800 personalities from the worlds of sport, entertainment, theatre, business and politics have added their names to the campaign. Their doodles will be sold off at an online auction on eBay running for 10 days from the 3 March.The comepetition is open to all. Individuals can send their doodles to a special Freepost address at just £1 per entry. Judging will be carried out by actor and author Maureen Lipman, the Doodle Day patron. All winners will have their work displayed in the Hall of Fame on the National Doodle Day website. Advertisementlast_img read more

Code of practice for Irish charities launched

first_img Tagged with: Ireland Law / policy About Howard Lake Howard Lake is a digital fundraising entrepreneur. Publisher of UK Fundraising, the world’s first web resource for professional fundraisers, since 1994. Trainer and consultant in digital fundraising. Founder of Fundraising Camp and co-founder of GoodJobs.org.uk. Researching massive growth in giving. The Irish Tax Reform Group (ITRG) is inviting charities to sign up to a new code of practice which includes a donor’s charter for fundraising. The code is supported by a complaints and feedback procedure for the public and a monitoring body to ensure compliance.The donor’s charter allows a right to know about the causes for which a charity is fundraising and whether its fundraisers are employees or third party agents.The code of practice applies to all fundraising including door-to-door and street collections, telemarketing, direct mail, emergency appeals, internet donations, raffles, church-gate collections and bequests.Signatories to the code will be required to adhere to five key components – a commitment to good practice, a donor charter, a complaints procedure, a monitoring group and publication of an annual report.The ITRG hopes that the voluntary code will demonstrate that statutory regulation, which may come with the 2009 Charities Act, will not be necessary.“The Irish give more to charities than many of their international counterparts and open and honest fundraising is absolutely crucial to public trust,” Sheila Nordon, executive director of Irish Charities and Tax Research, told the Irish Times.www.ictr.ie Howard Lake | 15 March 2011 | News AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to EmailEmailShare to WhatsAppWhatsAppShare to MessengerMessengerShare to MoreAddThis  18 total views,  1 views today AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to EmailEmailShare to WhatsAppWhatsAppShare to MessengerMessengerShare to MoreAddThis Code of practice for Irish charities launchedlast_img read more

Bold Atlanta action hits detentions, deportations of migrants

first_imgOn Nov. 19, in a bold action directed at the detention and deportation practices of the Obama administration, 15 undocumented immigrants and citizen supporters chained themselves to the fence surrounding the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) headquarters in Atlanta.Sponsored by the Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights, Southerners on New Ground (SONG) and Project South, this direct action was part of a national “Not One More” campaign, which has conducted dramatic protests across the country. In Chicago, activists chained themselves to a deportation bus preventing it from carrying detainees away.The immigrant rights movement is refusing to accept the lack of congressional progress in passing comprehensive, fair immigration reform while hundreds of thousands of people continue to be detained and deported. The campaign demands presidential action now to stop the separation of families.To read the statements of those who were arrested in Atlanta and accounts of actions in other cities, please go to notonemoredeportation.comFacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thisFacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thislast_img read more

Volleyball reaches 10 wins with 2-1 tournament finish

first_imgSarah Breuner Twitter printThe Horned Frog volleyball team defeated Clemson 3-1 in the SMU Doubletree Invitational Saturday to move to 10-2 on the season.TCU also beat the University of Texas at San Antonio before losing to SMU in the tournament.Junior Ashley Smith earned her fourth double-double in a row and led the team with 14 kills Saturday. She totaled 48 kills and 40 digs over the three matches.Her teammate Regan McGuire led the Frogs in blocking during the Clemson match, finishing with five. The junior middle blocker has led TCU in the category nine times this season.The team’s loss to SMU marked just the second loss this season under director of volleyball Jill Kramer. This is Kramer’s first season at TCU.“When we came into this, we knew it was going to be a tough one to play,” Kramer said Saturday. “We had a little bit of a change in our lineup, and once we adjusted to that, we did a good job with it.”The SMU tournament marked the end of non-conference play for the Frogs. The team’s next match will be in Austin against the University of Texas on Wednesday, Sept. 23, at 7 p.m. ReddIt Sarah Breunerhttps://www.tcu360.com/author/sarah-breuner/ Sarah Breuner is a senior journalism major from Portland, Oregon. She is working as copy chief for tcu360.com as well as interning with Fox Sports Southwest. Frogs, Ducks both have San Antonio connections Previous articleSoccer shuts out UTSANext articleDefensive end Tuaua arrested on robbery charge Sarah Breuner RELATED ARTICLESMORE FROM AUTHOR Twitter Facebook George W. Bush comes to town: Trivia with students Sarah Breunerhttps://www.tcu360.com/author/sarah-breuner/ Facebook ReddIt Another series win lands TCU Baseball in the top 5, earns Sikes conference award + posts Record-setting duo heads to Atlanta as national award finalists TCU baseball finds their biggest fan just by saying hello Linkedin TCU rowing program strengthens after facing COVID-19 setbacks Sarah Breunerhttps://www.tcu360.com/author/sarah-breuner/ Linkedin TCU vs UTAP volleyball in the Rec Center on the Campus of TCU in Fort Worth, Texas on August 29, 2015. (Photo by/Sharon Ellman) Slideshow: TCU overcomes 31-point deficit to beat Oregon in Alamo Bowl Sarah Breunerhttps://www.tcu360.com/author/sarah-breuner/last_img read more

PERRYMAN: The U.S. economy performs well without tariffs

first_img Twitter PERRYMAN: The U.S. economy performs well without tariffs Ray Perryman is the head of The Perryman Group and serves as a distinguished professor at the International Institute for Advanced Studies. International trade is good for the economy, and barriers to trade are bad for the economy. It’s that simple. The recent decision to levy a sizable tariff on solar panels and certain washing machines is likely to cost more U.S. jobs than it creates, and it is neither needed nor desirable.The benefits of free trade go back to basic economic concepts such as comparative advantage, which is the idea that production should flow to the regions with advantages relative to other areas such as lower costs or proximity to needed input materials. This principle was first articulated by two prominent members of Parliament and early economists more than two centuries ago, Robert Torrens in 1815 and, more famously, David Ricardo in 1817. It is one of the truly great discoveries in intellectual history and its basic mathematics is incontrovertible. Any artificial constraints on global trade will cause resources to be used with less than optimal efficiency, decreasing overall wellbeing.There are certainly times when intervention is needed, usually because unfair governmental subsidies or similar practices distort the market and result in imbalances that should be addressed. It is important that the playing field be kept level, and restrictions on practices such as dumping (selling products in other countries below marginal cost and for less than they are sold in the country of origin) or improper subsidies are appropriate. There are mechanisms to handle such cases, however, I can assure you that the economics of tit for tat is not the appropriate approach.In this instance, U.S. washing manufacturer Whirlpool filed a petition with the U.S. Department of Commerce in 2011, contending that washer imports from Korea and Mexico were dumped and subsidized as part of an aggressive downward pricing strategy by the large Korean firms LG and Samsung. Since that time, there have been other complaints and issues culminating in the recent decision to impose a tariff.According to the documentation related to the solar panel decision, in 2011, Commerce found that China had subsidized its producers, and that those producers were selling their goods in the United States for less than their fair market value, all to the detriment of U.S. manufacturers. The United States imposed antidumping and countervailing duties in 2012, but Chinese producers evaded the duties through loopholes and relocating production. Now, there is a tariff.The tariff will tend to increase consumer prices for the affected products. In addition, there are industries that will be negatively impacted by the decision. For example, the segment of the solar power industry that involves panel installation is expected to face falling demand and job losses. The president of the Solar Energy Industries Association is predicting that the tariffs will “lead to the loss of roughly 23,000 American jobs this year.”Ironically, the U.S. solar panel manufacturers filing the complaints are owned by Chinese and German parent companies. The tariffs may not be enough to lead to further investment in the United States, installer jobs will likely be lost and progress in renewable energy may slow.Reaction to the tariffs on the part of other nations remains to be seen. If they levy tariffs on U.S. goods in response, other U.S. export-oriented businesses could be affected. Such retaliation is almost inevitable and trade wars are universally detrimental. On the bright side, many market watchers had feared even higher tariffs would be instated. The 30 percent solar panel rate was lower than the 35 percent that had been considered.It is to be hoped that negotiations will take place between the United States and China (as well as other nations) to work out the underlying problems. Solar panels have long been the object of disputes, and a productive resolution of the situation could generate significant benefits.The bottom line is that tariffs impede growth. Period. There are clearly cases of abuse out there, but we have mechanisms to deal with that. The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, the Department of Commerce and the International Trade Commission are some of the federal agencies that deal with trade issues. There are also international entities such as the World Trade Organization, of which all of the relevant countries are members, to resolve such disputes. These entities can work to solve problems with the smallest possible dislocation. Tariffs, on the other hand, can cause layers of unintended negative consequences.The most compelling argument against these tariffs may well be that the U.S. economy is doing very well, competing based on innovation and technology. Despite all of the populist rhetoric about America somehow needing to become “great again,” the United States is basically at full employment, has the most job openings and employment opportunities in history and manufacturing is coming off a very good year. It is already performing quite well, and it definitely doesn’t need artificial protection. By admin – January 28, 2018 Previous articleA SHARP LIFE: Lego hits 60, still pain in the footNext articleTopping Out ceremony admin WhatsApp Pinterest WhatsApp Twitter Pinterest Local NewsBusiness Facebook Facebooklast_img read more

Disposal Of Dead Bodies- “If Authorities Can’t Foresee Requirement Of Crematorium, Can’t Expect Development Through Them”: Calcutta High Court

first_imgNews UpdatesDisposal Of Dead Bodies- “If Authorities Can’t Foresee Requirement Of Crematorium, Can’t Expect Development Through Them”: Calcutta High Court Sparsh Upadhyay17 March 2021 5:18 AMShare This – xComing down heavily on the District administration, Local Self-government Institutions as well as the Development Authorities, the Calcutta High Court on Tuesday (16th March) expressed its displeasure at the report submitted by the DM, Purba Medinipur relating to the installation of the electric chulli for the utility of the people. Having perused the report, the Bench of…Your free access to Live Law has expiredTo read the article, get a premium account.Your Subscription Supports Independent JournalismSubscription starts from ₹ 599+GST (For 6 Months)View PlansPremium account gives you:Unlimited access to Live Law Archives, Weekly/Monthly Digest, Exclusive Notifications, Comments.Reading experience of Ad Free Version, Petition Copies, Judgement/Order Copies.Subscribe NowAlready a subscriber?LoginComing down heavily on the District administration, Local Self-government Institutions as well as the Development Authorities, the Calcutta High Court on Tuesday (16th March) expressed its displeasure at the report submitted by the DM, Purba Medinipur relating to the installation of the electric chulli for the utility of the people. Having perused the report, the Bench of Chief Justice Thottathil B. Radhakrishnan and Justice Aniruddha Roy sternly remarked, “The minimum and the most modest comment that we will put on it is that the contents of the said report is a shame on the face of the Indian Constitution.” The matter before the Court Significantly, the Court was dealing with a plea seeking installation of an electric chulli for an area stressing that it was absolutely essential having regard to the larger interest of managing right to life and connected issues particularly, decent disposal of human remains. The Court observed that it was dealing with the right of the human beings to have due disposal of dead bodies in a geographical scenario where land is scarce. “We are also dealing with a community who are unfortunately treated as marginalized as a result of socio-economic deprivation”, added the Court. During the course of the last hearing, the Calcutta High Court had directed the West Bengal State Government to take a decision relating to the installation of the electric chulli (electric crematorium) in a particular locality of the State for the utility of the people. By issuing this order, the Bench of Chief Justice Thottathil B. Radhakrishnan and Justice Arijit Banerjee had also observed, “Disposal of dead bodies, in the ultimate situation of such dead bodies not being cared for by the near and dear ones, is the constitutional and statutory responsibility of the Government or the local self-government in accordance with the Acts and Rules.” Court’s observations on 16th March At the outset, the Court observed that any unit of governance guided by the principles of the Constitution, particularly, the Constitutional values and the cardinal human values embedded in it through the doctrine of dignity contained in its Preamble would have definitely done what ought to have been done for the people even without any judicial order. “We say so in view of the fact that the writ petition has come up since no due action was taken in spite of requests. If the District administration and the Local Self-government Institutions as well as the Development Authorities do not have the ability to foresee the requirement of crematorium, we do not think that there can be any development through these institutions except to fill the belly of those who are administering those systems”, added the Court. With these remarked, the Court adjourned the matter to 19th March 2021 so that those responsible are able to do the needful and place before the Court, the steps taken, disclosing the facts and figures and date-wise Action Taken Report on the issue concerned. Lastly, the Court directed that it be treated as a peremptory direction, in the failure of which, we will proceed with further action against all concerned including the District Magistrate, Purba Medinipur. Case title – Lakshmikanta Lagar & Ors. v. The State of West Bengal & Ors. [WPA 7051 of 2020 with IA no: CAN 1 of 2020] Click here To Download OrderRead OrderSubscribe to LiveLaw, enjoy Ad free version and other unlimited features, just INR 599 Click here to Subscribe. All payment options available.loading….Next Storylast_img read more

European Tour Director describes Irish Open preparations as “first class”

first_img Pinterest Previous article24 people awaiting admission this morning at LUHNext articleGAA Official says “Nothing can be done about Dublin playing two games at Croke Park” News Highland Harps come back to win in Waterford Facebook FT Report: Derry City 2 St Pats 2 By News Highland – July 4, 2018 European Tour Director describes Irish Open preparations as “first class” Journey home will be easier – Paul Hegarty RELATED ARTICLESMORE FROM AUTHOR DL Debate – 24/05/21 Twitter AudioHomepage BannerNewscenter_img Facebook WhatsApp Twitter Google+ WhatsApp The Director of the European Tour Golf Championship has described the level of preparation for this week’s Irish Open at Ballyliffin as “first class”.Simon Alliss was speaking on a special Nine Til Noon Show broadcast from Ballyliffin today ahead of the start of the championship tomorrow.He said there had been some concerns about access, but any issues have been addressed……Audio Playerhttp://www.highlandradio.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/alliss1pm.mp300:0000:0000:00Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.Liam Ward is Director of Community, Enterprise and Planning Services with Donegal County Council. He says this is the culmination of a process which has lasted several years…………..Audio Playerhttp://www.highlandradio.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/ward1.mp300:0000:0000:00Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume. Pinterest Google+ Derry draw with Pats: Higgins & Thomson Reaction News, Sport and Obituaries on Monday May 24thlast_img read more

Alaska at center of Trump administration’s drive to drill public lands during pandemic

first_imgBriBar/iStockBy EVAN SIMON, ABC News(NEW YORK) — Traditional subsistence hunting has always been a pillar of life along Alaska’s remote North Slope. Dependable migrations of bowhead whales, Arctic grayling fish, and the country’s last remaining caribou herds have provided for generations of indigenous Alaskans who make their home on America’s northernmost edge.“We depend on a clean environment to feed our families during the year,” Rosemary Ahtuangaruak, a 66-year-old resident of the village of Nuiqsut, told ABC News. The grandmother of twenty says she owns a harpoon and still participates in the whale hunt on Cross Island each fall.Rosemary’s village is among the few largely indigenous communities scattered throughout the region’s vast Arctic oil fields. A small grid of homes located at the limits of most modern transportation routes with just one grocery store, more than three-quarters of the Inupiat Eskimo village relies on traditional subsistence hunting as their primary source of food.With the arrival of COVID-19, residents of Nuiqsut say it’s been decades since their ancestral ways have been this important. The global pandemic forced roads to close and the region’s only airline to declare bankruptcy, cutting off an already isolated village from outside supply lines.With the nearest hospital hundreds of miles away and the virus pushing northward, some fear the village — with a population of just 500 — would be wiped off the map if community spread took hold.“It’s life or death,” Siqiniq Maupin, a community advocate based in Fairbanks whose family lives in Nuiqsut, told ABC News. “We have people that need to hunt and be out on the land right now because we just don’t know what’s going to happen this winter.”But in the midst of the crisis, as the tribal government frantically moved to obtain medical supplies and shut down non-essential services, residents learned their community was being asked to confront yet another challenge — the federal government’s controversial plan to massively expand oil and gas drilling in the area.In April, the Bureau of Land Management — the agency within the United States Department of the Interior responsible for the administration of public lands — moved forward with “virtual public comment hearings” on revised plans for the controversial ConocoPhillips Willow Oil Project.The Willow project aims to add a gravel mine and up to 250 oil and gas wells to the existing energy extraction sites already surrounding Nuiqsut on nearly all sides. First proposed in 2018, the project has long been opposed by some tribal leaders and environmental groups for its potential impacts on wildlife and public health.“It’s a massive project that threatens wildlife, exacerbates climate change and impacts indigenous culture and food security,” Adam Kolton, executive director of the Alaska Wilderness League, told ABC News. “We were concerned before the pandemic but to see the Bureau of Land Management continue to kind of move at warp speed during the pandemic … makes no sense at all.”ConocoPhillips’ declined to be interviewed for this report, but a company spokesman denied the project would impact subsistence hunting or public health in a statement to ABC News.“The Willow project will be one of the first North Slope projects designed and built-in compliance with new EPA rules that reduce emissions and minimize environmental impacts,” the spokesperson wrote.The Willow development’s virtual hearings — conducted via Zoom — were the culmination of a contentious public comment period for the project’s revised environmental review that commenced on March 20, just a week after President Donald Trump declared COVID-19 to be a national emergency and four days after he advised all Americans to avoid gatherings of 10 or more people.The release of the Willow project’s new environmental review would typically result in more in-person meetings within the village to ensure public awareness and input regarding the proposed changes, but the Bureau of Land Management relied on teleconferencing for the remote indigenous community, ignoring repeated requests from the tribal government, congressional leaders, and environmental groups to suspend the process in light of the region’s lack of internet access and the pandemic’s impact on public participation.“They kept getting cut off, losing reception, words weren’t being heard,” Martha Itta, a lifetime resident and tribal administrator for the village who called into the hearings, told ABC News. “It was a really poor process.”Despite the technical challenges and emotional pleas from village members for an extension, the Bureau of Land Management closed the public comment period on May 4, effectively cutting off organized public input as the agency finalizes its plan for the project en route to getting final approval. The agency is still accepting comments via mail and the Bureau of Land Management website.Alaska Bureau of Land Management officials defended the virtual hearings and emphasized the importance of maintaining “a capable and functioning government,” in an email to ABC News, saying that the agency was using technology to both protect its employees and “ensure connection and service to the public.”“These virtual meetings are providing more people with access to participate and have their voices heard,” Alaska Bureau of Land Management officials wrote in a statement to ABC News, saying the virtual meetings drew approximately 50 more people than in-person meetings conducted earlier in the review process.“Public input is fundamental and of the highest importance to the Bureau,” the spokesperson wrote.But some Nuiqsut residents say the agency’s rush to expand oil operations during a pandemic deliberately ignored their concerns. Just last month, the agency followed up the Willow project’s virtual hearings with a massive plan to offer oil companies 18.6 million more acres of public lands across Alaska’s Northwest, including previously protected wildlife areas such as Teshekpuk Lake, a vital subsistence hunting location for indigenous villages including Nuiqsut, where caribou herds, polar bears, and millions of migratory birds can be found.“The [oil development] process is sacrificing our village,” Ahtuangaruak told ABC News. “It shouldn’t be forced down our throats when we are not effectively able to participate.”‘A multi-fronted assault on the environment’The Willow project is one of several plans the federal government is currently advancing that could turn over vast swaths of America’s landscapes to oil and gas interests while the public’s attention is focused on the ongoing pandemic and civil unrest.Since President Trump’s March 13 national emergency declaration, the Bureau of Land Management has leased more than 100,000 acres of public lands to fossil fuel companies across the country and pushed an array of extraction-friendly proposals that could impact iconic areas ranging from the Alaskan Arctic to the American Southwest.Public lands surrounding Arches National Park, Canyonlands National Park, Bears Ears National Monument, Chaco Canyon National Historic Park and the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge are just some of the treasured American landscapes that would see oil, gas, and mineral development under the various proposals currently underway.“People are hurting around the country,” Bob Deans of the Natural Resources Defense Fund told ABC News. “And unfortunately, the administration chooses this opportunity to wage a multi-fronted assault on the environment and public health.”The controversial moves have garnered little attention outside of directly affected communities and have some critics claiming the administration is using the cover of a global pandemic to advance oil and gas interests on public lands.“The administration is hoping we’ll be too distracted to understand what’s at stake,” Deans said. “This is short-term profits for big polluters and leaves the rest of us to pay the price.”The Trump administration’s drive to drill public lands for fossil fuels is perhaps most apparent in Alaska. There, on the country’s last great frontier, the Bureau of Land Management has not only gone forward with controversial virtual public comment hearings for the ConocoPhillips’ Willow Project, but it is promising a historic increase in oil and gas development across the state’s public lands in the months to come — despite the global oil glut underway.In addition to the Willow Project’s central processing facility and infrastructure pad, access and infield roads, pipelines, a gravel mine, an airstrip, and up 250 new wells, the agency is also proposing the construction of an entirely separate 20-foot-high, 211-mile-long gravel road intended solely for industrial copper mining in the region.Meanwhile, top officials at the Bureau of Land Management and Department of the Interior have also recently doubled down on their vow to conduct oil and gas lease sales inside the pristine Arctic National Wildlife Refuge before the year’s end. The move would be an unprecedented step toward opening America’s largest wilderness area to oil and gas development.In addition to transforming some of Alaska’s most iconic landscapes and exacerbating climate change in the already melting Arctic, critics argue the new developments threaten to cut indigenous villages off from one of their most important food sources: migrating caribou herds.“It’s just so overwhelming right now,” Maupin said. “We have so many projects happening at the same time over such a large state that we can’t attend every single hearing.”Bureau of Land Management and Department of the Interior leadership declined to be interviewed for this story. William Perry Pendley, the Bureau of Land Management’s temporary head, has stated in the past that “it is crucial that we fulfill our statutory and regulatory responsibilities during this difficult time to provide for our future economic stability when Americans do return to work.”But according to former California State Bureau of Land Management Director Jim McKenna, a 40-year agency veteran, the Bureau of Land Management appears to be ignoring the conservation aspect of its mission.“Oil and gas leasing now in the midst of a pandemic oil glut makes no sense,” McKenna told ABC News. “It flies in the face of public interest.”According to McKenna, the flood of agency activity during the pandemic shows the current leadership’s “very cavalier attitude towards the public.”“People who are the most directly affected are being shuffled aside,” he said. “And that to me is wrong.”Pendley, the agency’s temporary head, spent much of his career as an attorney representing oil and gas interests in public land disputes, arguing that the federal government should transfer or sell most of its public lands to states.In May, conservation groups filed a federal lawsuit against the Trump administration for extending Pendley’s tenure for the fifth time without Senate approval. Late last month, the White House said it intends to officially nominate Pendley to lead the Bureau of Land Management.According to McKenna, many of his former colleagues are “dispirited” at the direction the agency has taken and “don’t feel like they can say things that are true out loud.”“This isn’t the agency that I grew up in,” McKenna said.A widespread sense of distrustHistorically, oil and gas development has brought monetary wealth to some indigenous Alaskans, particularly those with shares in Alaskan Native Corporations who receive regular payments from developers — but critics say that with the added resources also came pollution, health risks and a noted impact on the land and waters local populations have depended on for centuries.Perhaps no village embodies this contrast better than Nuiqsut, which sits directly beside the National Petroleum Reserve and has seen an explosion of oil and gas development over the past several decades.“When I came to Nuiqsut, the lights were 20 miles away,” Ahtuangaruak said in reference to the oil and gas facilities. “Now I have lights to the east of us from development at Prudhoe Bay, to the north of us from the offshore development in the Beaufort Sea, to the west of us from the National Petroleum Reserve, and now to the south of us from the new developments.”As Alaska’s largest oil producer with most of its key operations in the North Slope, ConocoPhillips’ presence is hard to miss in the region. In addition to its ubiquitous processing and extraction facilities surrounding Nuiqsut — where children can see active drill pads from their school steps — the oil company sponsors educational events such as the village’s health fair and science symposium, as well as a nearby playground.The company is also a major political force, spending nearly $5 million dollars on national political lobbying in 2019, and it is among the top five donors to Alaskan Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski — giving nearly $40,000 to her campaigns over the past five years as the company grew its holdings in the state.During her career as a community health aide from 1986-2000, Ahtuangaruak said, she started noticing more respiratory illnesses in her village as development grew around it. She is among many in the village who believe the oil and gas infrastructure has compromised their health.“[When] I stopped working at the clinic, there were 70 [respiratory illness cases] — but when I started, there was just one,” she said. “There were nights I was up all night helping people breathe.”In response to the community’s widespread concerns about air pollution, the state of Alaska conducted multiple assessments of the area’s air quality and found that pollutant concentrations were “generally well below the national ambient air quality standards,” blaming any potential rise in respiratory problems on seasonal flus, poor indoor air quality, diesel auto-emissions, and high smoking rates.However, ConocoPhillips owns the only air monitoring instruments in the area, leading many residents to doubt the government’s findings. The instruments are operated by a consulting company and its reports are prepared for ConocoPhillips before being sent to government and tribal agencies as well as audited quarterly by another independent party. Yet ConocoPhillips’ multiple oil and wastewater spills in the region, including in 2009 and 2017 — along with one of the company’s subsidiaries pleading guilty to failing to maintain proper records of an oil spill and attempting to hide a spill in 2004 — have only added to the community’s sense of distrust.“ConocoPhillips has consistently proven that we can safely, responsibly, and sustainably operate on Alaska’s North Slope,” a company spokesman wrote to ABC News.“The 2004 incident you are referring to was a records-keeping violation following a deck spill during a routine maintenance operation,” the spokesman wrote. ConocoPhillips’s subsidiary, Polar Tankers, “immediately terminated the ship’s captain” and agreed to pay a $500,000 fine and a $2 million community-service payment to the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.“Polar Tankers resolved the matter with the authorities, and subsequently has been recognized by state and federal programs for its health, safety and the environment performance. However, this has no connection to our North Slope operations,” the spokesman said.This coming winter was expected to be a major production year for ConocoPhillips in Alaska, but the oil glut caused by the pandemic forced the company to scale back its ambitions in the Arctic. The Bureau of Land Management’s virtual hearing announcement for the Willow project came two days after ConocoPhillips announced it was cutting roughly $200 million from its Alaska budget — mainly by slowing production in the North Slope.“Significant public comment on Willow development occurred well before the COVID pandemic,” the ConocoPhillips’ spokesperson wrote. “We are supportive of the BLM’s efforts to continue permitting projects on a timely basis.”At the time of the announcement, Pendley, the Bureau of Land Management head, said the move to go forward with the virtual hearings was “in the spirit of service to the public,” while Bureau of Land Management Alaska officials said the hearings actually increased public participation.“It’s completely insulting,” Maupin, the community advocate, told ABC News, saying that if there was any increase in participation it was “because people are crying, asking you not to inhumanely hold these processes during a pandemic.”“This entire process was a joke, and it’s really sad that so many people had to endure that,” she said.“We always say they don’t give a damn about us — it’s really heartbreaking,” Nuiqsut resident Martha Itta said. After the hearings, Itta wrote a scathing letter to the Bureau of Land Management describing her experiences and demanding the process be halted. As of this writing she says she had not heard back.Despite the recent setbacks, Rosemary Ahtuangaruak has vowed to continue her opposition to the Bureau of Land Management’s plans for her village — but she’s concerned that few outside her community are paying close enough attention.“We need our nation to respond,” Ahtuangaruak told ABC News. “Otherwise, they are going to push forward to protect profitability at all costs. Stand up and protect the life, health and safety of people who are living nearby and protect this beautiful area for generations to come.”Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.last_img read more

Former NFL players seek to intervene in race-norming mediation, citing mistrust of class counsel

first_img Written by March 15, 2021 /Sports News – National Former NFL players seek to intervene in race-norming mediation, citing mistrust of class counsel FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailEricVega/iStockBy PETE MADDEN, ABC News(PHILADELPHIA) — Former NFL players Kevin Henry and Najeh Davenport are seeking to intervene in the upcoming court-ordered mediation between the NFL and the class counsel representing former players in the league’s landmark concussion settlement program, arguing that class counsel “cannot adequately represent the interests of Black former players on the issue.”In a motion filed before the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania on Monday, attorneys for Henry and Davenport took aim at Seeger Weiss, the prominent plaintiffs’ law firm that negotiated the terms of the original settlement, alleging that “the discriminatory status quo has emerged and persisted on Class Counsel’s watch.”“Class Counsel Seeger Weiss cannot be solely entrusted with eradicating a discriminatory practice that it has had a role in effectuating, has allowed to continue, and does not view as discriminatory,” wrote the attorneys, led by Cy Smith of the firm Zuckerman Spaeder.A spokesperson for attorney Christopher Seeger, one of Seeger Weiss’ leading partners, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.Last week, following an ABC News investigation into allegations of racial bias in the program, the federal judge overseeing the settlement sent the league and Seeger Weiss back to the negotiating table “to seek to address the concerns relating to the race-norming issue” that critics say has skewed compensation for some football-related head injuries along racial lines.The NFL has consistently defended the settlement and its protocols, and in response to questions from ABC News, Seeger initially issued a statement saying that his firm had previously “investigated this issue” and “not seen any evidence of racial bias in the settlement program.” The following day, however, Seeger added that it was his view that “race-based demographic adjustments should be eliminated” from the settlement program, and he pledged to “fight for the rights of Black players to have [their] claims rescored” if improper adjustments were found to applied.In Monday’s filing, Smith seized on the apparent discrepancy.“It is not realistic,” Smith wrote, “to expect that concerns about race-norming will be addressed effectively by parties who do not view the current use of race-norming as a problem.”Seeger has also been a target of the group of wives of former players who have organized their own effort to end race-norming in the concussion settlement program. The group, which launched a Change.org petition that has garnered nearly 50,000 signatures, has urged the judge overseeing the settlement to remove Seeger as class counsel.“We demand that you choose an impartial attorney of record, one that will fight for the rights of ALL players, not just the NFL and their deep pockets,” they wrote.Seeger’s spokesperson has not responded to ABC News’ multiple requests for Seeger to discuss his position regarding the mediation in an on-camera interview.At the crux of the controversy: The NFL’s concussion settlement program manual recommends the use of a “full demographic correction,” in which a player’s cognitive test scores are compared to average scores, or “norms,” for supposedly similar demographic groups, and then adjusted to account for expected differences in age, gender, education — and race.The practice of adjusting test scores for race, widely known as “race-norming,” is in use across several different medical fields as a supposed safeguard against misdiagnosis. But because these “norms,” as used in a neuropsychology context, assume that the average Black player starts at a lower level of cognitive functioning than the average white player at the outset of their careers, Black players need to show larger cognitive declines than white players to qualify for compensation.“What the NFL is doing to us right now … when they use a different scale for African-Americans versus any other race?” former NFL running back Davenport told ABC News. “That’s literally the definition of systematic racism.”In response to questions from ABC News, an NFL spokesperson issued a statement in February saying that the concussion settlement, which has paid out more than $800 million to retirees and their families to date, was “agreed to by all parties, with the assistance of expert neuropsychological clinicians and approved by the courts more than five years ago” and “relied on widely accepted and long-established cognitive tests and scoring methodologies.”“The settlement seeks to provide accurate examinations to retired players,” said the spokesperson, “and thus permits, but does not require, independent clinicians to consider race in adjusting retired players’ test scores as they would in their typical practice.”But ABC News uncovered emails between clinicians who evaluated former NFL players for compensation through the program in which they contend they were all but required to apply race-based adjustments to players’ cognitive test scores and express concerns that the league’s protocols discriminate against Black players. ABC News was also able to obtain a data analysis that suggests that the impact of the practice on payouts could be significant, making it much more difficult for Black players to qualify.In Monday’s filing, attorneys for Henry and Davenport claim the NFL and Seeger Weiss were presented with evidence “at least as early as November 2018” of the discriminatory impact of race-norming in the settlement program, but neither of them “has lifted a finger” to address it since.And, the attorneys argued, it was the lawsuit filed by Henry and Davenport this past August, which the judge recently dismissed as “an improper attack on the Settlement Agreement,” that alerted the court to the issue in the first place.“If [Henry and Davenport] had not begun litigating the race-norming issue, Class Counsel and the NFL would never had brought it to the Court’s attention,” the attorneys wrote. “[Henry and Davenport] should be allowed to participate as parties to ensure that the NFL and Class Counsel address the Court’s concerns fairly and comprehensively.”Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.center_img Beau Lundlast_img read more