On This Day, Dec. 31, 1879 – Thomas Edison Demonstrates His Light Bulb

1879 – Thomas Edison gave his first public demonstration of incandescent lighting to an audience in Menlo Park, NJ. Edison’s serious incandescent light bulb research began in 1878, filing his first patent later that year…”Improvement In Electric Lights” in October 1878. His experiments involved the fabrication and testing of many different metal filaments, including platinum. Platinum was very difficult to work with, and prone to being weakened by heating and oxygen attack. In addition, platinum was expensive, and too low in resistance; which would require heavy copper conductors in Edison’s electric distribution system he was designing to supply commercial installations of his bulbs. This system would later become the model for our modern electric utility power distribution system of today. Edison then resorted to a carbon-based, high-resistance, filament. One year later in October 1879, Edison successfully tested a filament that burned for 13.5 hours. Continuing to improve his design,...

Read More...


Trump’s Plan to Warm Relations with Russia is Getting Harder

by Justin Salhani – Trump wanted to improve relations with Putin, but Senate Republicans may complicate his plans. President-elect Donald Trump’s plans to warm relations with Russia are set to be complicated by new sanctions placed on Russia’s top intelligence agencies and Obama’s decision to expel a number of Russian emissaries. Russian President Vladimir Putin said Friday that he will not expel American diplomats, despite the Obama administration’s jettison of 35 Russians from the United States over accusations of hacking and election interference. “While we reserve the right to respond, we will not drop to this level of irresponsible diplomacy, and we will make further steps to help resurrect Russian-American relations based on the policies that the administration of Trump will pursue,” Putin said in a statement published on the Kremlin’s website. Putin said the expulsion was a provocation but chose not to immediately retaliate, despite suggestions to do so from Russian...

Read More...


Racist Carl Paladino Gets Booted Off School Board (VIDEO)

by Stephen D Foster Jr – The Buffalo School Board refuses to tolerate racism from one of their own members, and decisively voted to oust a racist Trump supporter from their ranks on Thursday. Earlier this month, Carl Paladino wrote a wish list hoping for President Obama’s death from mad cow disease and called for First Lady Michelle Obama to be sent to live with gorillas in Africa. “I’d like her to return to being a male and let loose in the outback of Zimbabwe where she lives comfortably in a cave with Maxie, the gorilla,” Paladino wrote. Predictably, national outrage ensued as Paladino’s own son condemned him. “We value and respect our employees, friends, partners and all of our commercial and residential tenancies and we do not condone the statements made about the President of the United States and his wife,” William Paladino wrote. “They were disrespectful and absolutely unnecessary.”...

Read More...


Justice Protectors, Let’s Take Action Inauguration Day

by Ted Glick – I’m not sure how many Inauguration Day protests in DC I’ve been to over the years. The one I distinctly remember is January 20th, 2001, George W. Bush’s first inauguration. There was a similar political dynamic then as the upcoming Trump one. A reactionary Republican was taking office, and progressives were very concerned about what it would mean across a broad range of issues. Of course, Bush had not campaigned the way Trump did. He hadn’t been publicly accused by a dozen women of sexual attacks. He hadn’t called Mexicans rapists or for a ban on all Muslim emigration into the USA. He wasn’t a full-on, narcissistic, pathological liar. He hadn’t aligned himself so overtly with white supremacists. He hadn’t nominated the head of Exxon Mobil to be Secretary of State. But there were justifiable fears, and they proved to be well-founded after the 9-11-01 terrorist attacks....

Read More...


Mormon Tabernacle Choir Member Quits Rather than Perform at Trump’s Inauguration

by Jack Jenkins – “I could never ‘throw roses to Hitler.’ And I certainly could never sing for him.” A member of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir has resigned in protest over the group’s decision to sing at President-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration, saying “it will appear that Choir is endorsing tyranny and by singing for this man.” The famous choir, which is affiliated with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS), first announced its decision to perform at Trump’s inauguration last week. The news sparked controversy among Mormons—many of whom are deeply ambivalent about Trump—but organizers justified the decision by noting that the group has performed at the inaugural celebrations of both Republican and Democratic presidents. But as first reported by the Salt Lake Tribune, the reasoning was not enough for at least one performer: Jan Chamberlin, a member of the choir, published a Facebook post on Thursday morning...

Read More...


Senators Dig into Scott Pruitt’s Fossil Fuel Connections Before Confirmation Hearings Begin

by Natasha Geiling – Pruitt is an active member of the Rule of Law Defense Fund, which has received $175,000 from the Koch brothers. Six Democratic members of the Senate Environment and Public Works committee sent a letter to Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt on Wednesday, asking that he answer questions about his ties to the fossil fuel industry and a conservative nonprofit funded in part by petrochemical billionaires Charles and David Koch. Pruitt has been nominated by President-elect Donald Trump to take on the role of EPA administrator, and the Senators behind the letter are looking for more information about how his ties to the fossil fuel industry might influence his work at the EPA before confirmation hearings begin. The letter, signed by Sens. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Edward Markey (D-MA), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), and Ben Cardin (D-MD), asked for more information regarding Pruitt’s ties...

Read More...


Setting Stage for Major Climate Battle, Dem AGs Put Trump on Alert

by Lauren McCauley – Letter from coalition of Democratic attorneys general say that Trump should ignore advice to scrap Clean Power Plan. If President-elect Donald Trump goes ahead with his plan to destroy U.S. climate regulations, he’s going to face a whole heap of trouble, a coalition of Democratic attorneys general is warning the incoming president. In a letter (pdf) dated Wednesday, AGs from 13 states and five additional localities advised Trump against plans to renege on President Barack Obama’s Clean Power Plan (CPP), saying that such a course of action “would assuredly lead to more litigation.” The warning is in response to a letter (pdf) sent earlier this month by a number of Republican AGs to Vice President-elect Mike Pence, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, and House Speaker Paul Ryan which declared the CPP “unlawful,” and encouraged the GOP lawmakers to issue an executive order “on day one” that would...

Read More...


Iraq Resumes Mosul Operation After a Two-Week Lull (VIDEO)

Iraqi forces launch the “second phase” of the battle to retake eastern Mosul from ISIL. Iraqi troops backed by US-led air strikes have pushed deeper into eastern Mosul after a two-week lull in the operation to retake the city held by the Islamic State of Iraq and the levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) group. Staff Lieutenant General Abdulghani al-Assadi, a senior officer in Iraq’s counterterrorism service, said the second phase of the operation, now in its third month, began on Thursday. He told the AFP news agency that forces began advancing towards the Quds neighbourhood. “Now our forces clashed with the enemy and there is resistance,” al-Assadi said, adding that forces on the northern and southern fronts were also advancing. Special elite forces also pushed into the Karama neighbourhood, while army troops and federal police advanced into nearby Intisar, Salam and Sumor neighbourhoods, the AP news agency reported. Smoke...

Read More...


I’m Not Cheering the End of 2016

by Jill Richardson – This year was tough. But whatever comes next, it’s not going to be good. If you thought 2016 was bad, I have bad news: Buckle up. Hopefully 2017 won’t bring the deaths of more beloved celebrities, and I doubt we’ll see the killing of any more famous gorillas. But one element that made 2016 terrible isn’t going anywhere. It’s actually getting worse. You can call it the Trump phenomenon, polarization among Americans, or whatever you want to call it. From my vantage point, Trump’s transition team is making some troubling decisions that are going to reverberate well into next year, and the ones to come after it. Even before the man’s in office, Trumpocracy is already beyond my worst nightmares. It’s so awful that it’s hard to even keep track of everything I need to be angry about. But here’s my best attempt. First, there’s the strange...

Read More...


On This Day, Dec. 30, 1980 – NBC Cancels ‘The Wonderful World of Disney’

1980 – “The Wonderful World of Disney” was cancelled by NBC after more than 25 years on the TV. It was the longest-running series in prime-time television history. Originally hosted by Walt Disney himself, the series presented animated cartoons and other material (some original, some pre-existing) from the studio library. For many years, the show also featured one-hour edits of such then-recent Disney films as Alice in Wonderland, and in other cases, telecasts of complete Disney films split into two or more one-hour episodes.Occasionally, a more educational segment, such as The Story of the Animated Drawing, would be featured. The show spawned the Davy Crockett craze of 1955 with the three-episode series (not shown in consecutive weeks) about the historical American frontiersman, starring Fess Parker in the title role. Millions of dollars of merchandise were sold relating to the title character, and the theme song, “The Ballad of Davy...

Read More...


Trends to Watch in 2017: Industrial Emissions

by DarkSyde – Modern global CO2 emissions from the burning of fossil fuels. Note the shape of the black line See that chart up there? See the black line in it? If you compare it to average global temperatures, you’ll see a remarkable similarity. But the resemblances don’t end there, with just those two images. Not by a long shot. “It’s not just CO2, other emissions have been increasing apace,” explained DR David Grinspoon, exobiologist and author of Earth in Human Hands. “And the combined effects of methane, nitrous oxide and other gases like chlorofluorocarbons make the situation worse. Whatever you choose to measure, be it global population or the damming of rivers, or even the relentless spread of McDonalds, the pattern is similar: a gradual, accelerating influence until about 1950. Then everything starts shooting up.” Anyone with high school algebra and a computer can play around with the axis on a 2-D graph and get plenty of...

Read More...


Tripwires for the Trumpsters

by Ralph Nader – The Trumpsters are coming to town—led by a failed gambling czar, corporate welfare king and major tax escapee—and they are hell bent on unmaking Washington, D.C. With all three branches of government  dominated by Republican members of Congress and Republican appointees—due to a mixture of abysmal deficiencies in the Democratic Party and the interloping luck of the atavistic Electoral College—the wrecking crew of Trump’s nominees to high cabinet and other positions brings with it a host of politically perilous baggage. First, the Trumpsters have vowed to dismantle various government programs. They are determined to severely limit the protection of labor, replace public schools with taxpayer-funded vouchers for private schools, and drop regulatory protections in the health, safety and environmental fields, among others. Acting without the requisite legal authority is of little concern to Mr. Trump. Having sworn in their oaths of office (to “faithfully execute the laws...

Read More...


Even as Global Trade Dropped, US Arms Sales Boomed in 2015

by Nadia Prupis – Even as other nations tighten budgets for weapons amid domestic financial concerns, US manages to sell $40 billion in one year. The U.S. sold more weapons than any other country in 2015 despite a drop in the global arms trade, according to a new congressional report. At $40 billion, the U.S. signed more than half of all arms agreements last year, and more than double the next-highest seller, which was France at $15 billion. American weapons sales included bombs, missiles, armored tanks, Apache attack helicopters, F-15 fighter jets, and other items. The report (pdf) was published by the Congressional Research Service, which conducts national policy analysis for Congress. It looked at conventional arms transfers to developing nations from 2008 to 2015. Russia sold $11.1 billion, a slight drop from its 2014 count at $11.2 billion. China sold $6 billion, doubling its output from last year. The leading...

Read More...


Damning Investigation Finds Trump’s Philanthropy Largely a “Facade”

by Lauren McCauley – One of the Trump Foundation’s most consistent causes was Donald Trump himself. President-elect Donald Trump continues to boast about his charitable giving, but those claims were cast into further doubt on Thursday after a damning Washington Post investigation into his philanthropy concluded that it is, for the most part, a “facade.” Despite claims of tens of millions of dollars donated to charitable causes, the months-long investigation by Post reporter David A. Fahrenthold was only able to verify “$7.8 million in charitable giving from Trump’s own pocket since the early 1980s,” and none since 2009. Fahrenthold acknowledges that, because the president-elect has refused to release his tax records, it is impossible to know for certain. Nonetheless, the reporter contacted “420-plus charities with some connection to Trump,” finding “only one personal gift from Trump between 2008 and the spring of this year”—a less than $10,000 donation in 2009 to the...

Read More...


Climate Kids Demand Testimony From Exxon’s Tillerson in Landmark Lawsuit

by Deirdre Fulton – “As CEO of ExxonMobil, Tillerson has unique personal knowledge of the fossil fuel industry’s historical relationship with the federal government.” The group of young people suing the federal government for failing to protect their constitutional right to a stable climate is seeking testimony in their landmark case from Rex Tillerson, CEO of ExxonMobil and President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee for secretary of state. Attorneys representing the 21 young people in their federal climate lawsuit served the notice of deposition (pdf) on Thursday, demanding Tillerson’s testimony on January 19, 2017 in Dallas, Texas. They claim that “s CEO of ExxonMobil, Tillerson has unique personal knowledge of the fossil fuel industry’s historical relationship with the federal government.” What’s more, they add, Tillerson and Exxon have been leaders in the American Petroleum Institute (API), National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), and American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM)—the trade associations that joined the...

Read More...


Girding for GOP Healthcare Attack, Leading Dems Plan to Mount ‘First Stand’

by Andrea Germanos – Trio of lawmakers says nationwide events needed to rally opposition to likely targeting of Obamacare, Medicare, Medicaid. Leading Democrats in the U.S. House and Senate on Wednesday urged their colleagues to help mobilize a national stand against Republican threats to “vital and necessary health programs.” Authored by incoming Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (N.Y.), House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (Calif.), and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who will serve on the Senate Democratic leadership team as outreach coordinator, the letter (pdf) calls for a day of action just before Donald Trump takes office—Jan. 15—in the face of a likely Republican budget bill poised to repeal Obamacare and gut Medicare and Medicaid. The bill, they write, could include: Taking away healthcare coverage for over 30 million Americans by dismantling the healthcare system; Ending guaranteed Medicare benefits for millions of older Americans by converting Medicare into a voucher program; Slashing...

Read More...


Trump Takes Credit for New Sprint Jobs He Had Nothing To Do With

by Lauren McCauley – …and the corporate media lets him. President-elect Donald Trump wasted no time taking credit for the thousands of new and returning American jobs announced by Sprint on Wednesday—opportunities which, as many are pointing out, the real estate mogul had very little to do with. Speaking to reporters from his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, Trump said Wednesday: “Because of what’s happening and the spirit and the hope I was just called by the head people at Sprint and they’re going to be bringing 5,000 jobs back to the United States.” “Also,” he continued, “OneWeb, a new company is going to be hiring 3,000 people so that is very exciting.” Later, he doubled down on that claim saying: “Because of me they’re doing 5,000 jobs in this country.” And while most corporate media outlets allowed the incoming president to pat his own back for the economic boost, some digging...

Read More...


Anti-Semitic Group Plans Armed March in Small Montana Town

by Aaron Rupar – Neo-Nazis escalate their harassment campaign against Jews in the hometown of a white supremacist leader’s mother. The Daily Stormer, a popular American neo-Nazi website, is organizing an armed march in Whitefish, Montana, home of white nationalist leader Richard Spencer’s mother. In a recent blog post that features Hilter’s face as its banner image, Andrew Anglin, publisher of the white supremacist website, announced he’s planning an armed march in the town for the second week of January — days before President-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration. “Montana has extremely liberal open carry laws, so my lawyer is telling me we can easily march through the center of the town carrying high-powered rifles,” Anglin wrote, adding that he plans to be there personally. “Currently, my guys say we are going to be able to put together about 200 people to participate in the march, which will be against Jews, Jewish businesses and everyone who...

Read More...


On This Day, Dec. 29, 1170 – Thomas Becket Killed on Orders from Henry II

1170 – St. Thomas à Becket, the 40th archbishop of Canterbury, was murdered in his own cathedral by four knights acting on Henry II’s orders. In 1162, Henry II, king of England, appointed Thomas Becket, as Archbishop of Canterbury. This was the most important religious position in England. No-one was surprised by Henry’s choice as both he and Thomas were very good friends. They enjoyed hunting, playing jokes and socialising together. Becket was known to be a lover of wine and a good horse rider. Henry II loved to ride as well but his personality was troubled by his fearsome temper. He tried to keep his temper under control by working very hard as it distracted him from things that might sparked off his temper. Henry II also controlled a lot of France at this time. William the Conqueror had been his great-grandfather and he had inherited his French...

Read More...


Russian Officials Finally Admit Olympic Doping was an ‘Institutional Conspiracy’

by Lindsay Gibbs – They’re not apologizing, though. In the past, Russian officials have vehemently denied allegations of widespread doping, going so far as to call reports “baseless libel.” But now they are changing their tone. “It was an institutional conspiracy,” Anna Antseliovich, the acting director general of Russia’s national anti-doping agency, told the New York Times in a series of interviews conducted in Moscow. This reversal comes just weeks after Canadian lawyer Richard McLaren delivered the second part of his report on Russian doping, part of an independent investigation commissioned by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). McLaren found that more than 1,000 Russian athletes in 30 sports were part of the state-sponsored doping program, which dates back to at least 2011. The breadth of the Russian doping scandal is unprecedented. In May, an explosive New York Times interview with Dr. Grigory Rodchenkov, the former director of Russia’s anti-doping laboratory, revealed...

Read More...