on this day … 12/7

Pearl Harbor bombed

At 7:55 a.m. Hawaii time, a Japanese dive bomber bearing the red symbol of the Rising Sun of Japan on its wings appears out of the clouds above the island of Oahu. A swarm of 360 Japanese warplanes followed, descending on the U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor in a ferocious assault. The surprise… read more »
Delaware ratifies the Constitution »
NYC officials revive Lower Manhattan Expressway »
Battle of Prairie Grove, Arkansas »
Mikhail Gorbachev arrives in United States for summit with Ronald Reagan »
Commute of terror »
Earthquakes wreak havoc in Armenia »
The First State »
Indonesia invades East Timor »
First execution by lethal injection »
Earthquake devastates Armenia »
Clooney stars in Sinatra role in Ocean’s Eleven remake »
Willa Cather is born »
The Singing Nun reaches #1 on the U.S. pop charts with “Dominique” »
Lewis and Clark temporarily settle in Fort Clatsop »
FDR reacts to news of Pearl Harbor bombing »
Sugar Ray Leonard fights Roberto Duran for the third and final time »
Situation deteriorates in South Vietnam »
McNamara predicts that more U.S. troops will be needed »
David Lloyd George becomes prime minister of Britain »
A date which will live in infamy »

Official Google blog … Tracking Santa

Join Santa and his elves in the countdown to Christmas Eve

After 11 months soaking up the sun in the tropics, Santa and his elves are back at the North Pole getting ready for Christmas Eve. In addition to making toys, they need to clear the snow off 23 elf homes, candy factories and command centers in Santa’s Village.
Santa’s jet-skiing all the way to the North Pole from his tropical vacation

To join in the flurry of preparations for Christmas Eve, visit the Village every day through December 24.

You’ll have the chance to join the elves as they catapult presents and race with reindeer—and you’ll be able to send holiday wishes to friends and family from Santa himself. The elves make a little more progress each day, so be sure to stop by the Village to see the latest.

Come back to Santa’s Village every day to see the newest games and scenes

Meanwhile, a team of Google engineers are working hard to track Santa’s sleigh with the most advanced maps and holiday technology available. On December 24, grab some cookies and apple cider and settle down in front of your computer, phone or TV to follow the big guy across the globe with our Santa Tracker. See where Santa’s going, the number of presents he’s delivered, and what he’s thinking throughout the evening.
Keep up the holiday cheer across all of your screens. Once the elves approve, we’ll launch the Google Santa Tracker app for Android in mid-December. Use your phone for on-the-go flight practice with the elves or cozy up near the fireplace with your tablet to follow Santa around the world as he delivers presents Christmas Eve. If you have Chromecast, cast from the Santa Tracker Android app to explore the Village or track his route right from your TV. Or, worried you’ll forget the big day? Download the Chrome extension to count down to Santa’s takeoff while browsing the web for holiday gifts.

Help the elves get ready across all your devices
Download the Chrome extension for easy Santa tracking from your browser

Be sure to come back to Santa’s Village each day to find new ways to celebrate—and from all of us at Google, happy holidays!
Posted by Sandy Russell, Elf Creative Director (Cross-posted from the Lat Long Blog)

Ecuador’s Yasuní Bait and Switch ~by Kevin Koenig and Carlos Mazabanda

Photo credit: Karla Gachet
Photo credit: Karla Gachet
While Ecuadorian government officials were busy touting the country’s advances to reduce emissions at the annual UN climate conference (COP 24) in Poland, activists gathered earlier this week outside the country’s Environment Ministry to protest government plans to greatly expand oil drilling in its remote Amazon rainforest and indigenous lands. These are fossil fuels the planet can ill afford to burn.

This week, Ecuador’s president appointed a career oil and mining industry ally to lead the environmental agency in hopes of speeding up a long-delayed environmental license for the Ishpingo field, part of the ITT (Ishpingo, Tambococha, Tiputini) oil fields located in Block 43 in the pristine eastern portion of Yasuní National Park.

Yasuní is a UNESCO Man and Biosphere reserve widely considered to hold the most biodiversity per acre on Earth. It is also home to the Waorani indigenous people, as well as two clans that are living in voluntary isolation. There are already eight oil blocks that overlap the boundaries of this national park, which along with road building and illegal logging have pushed the nomadic Tagaeri and Taromenane to the brink of disappearance.

The first wells of the ITT complex in Tiputini and Tambococha are already producing significant quantities of oil, with 600+ more planned, as well as dozens of platforms, access roads, and pipelines. The new Environment Minister, Marcelo Mata, who up until his appointment worked for an environmental unit inside Spanish oil company Repsol, a company with sizable operations in the existing oil operations inside Yasuní, will now be charged with providing permits and policing the very industry from which he came.

And in a classic bait-and-switch move, a draft Presidential Decree was leaked last month (a final version is still pending) that revealed government plans to allow oil drilling in the buffer zone of a protected area established for the Tagaeri-Taromenane which until now has been off limits to drilling. A decree was expected from President Lenin Moreno that would put into place a policy approved by voters in a national referendum earlier this year to expand the size of the protected area for isolated peoples while reducing the amount accessible for drilling. Sounds like a win-win right?

However, the government intends to do this based on the location of the oil field, not on the presence of isolated indigenous peoples. In other words, the draft decree would expand the protected area where there is less evidence of isolated peoples and allow drilling in the buffer zone where they are known to be according to the Ministry of Justice.

Adding insult to injury, last month a National Election Council investigation revealed that the Ecuadorian government fraudulently rejected hundreds of thousands of signatures gathered during a 2014 referendum that, had it passed, would have put the question of whether to leave oil beneath Yasuní National Park permanently in the ground before voters.

According to U.N. Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, who just completed a visit to Ecuador last month, “The decision to proceed with oil extraction in [Yasuní’s] buffer zone could produce grave and unpredictable impacts on peoples living in voluntary isolation and initial contact in the region.” Her visit came a decade after the country’s 2008 Constitution, which bolstered indigenous rights and established rights for nature.

Her trip included touring areas affected by the extractive industry – rainforest contaminated by Chevron, communities threatened by new oil extraction by Andes Petroleum, and large-scale open-pit mining. In remarks at the conclusion of her visit, Tauli-Corpuz found that indigenous rights have become “invisible” as the country pursues oil and mining projects. “So-called development projects have violated and continue to violate their fundamental rights,” concluded Tauli-Corpuz, and “serious violations of the constitutional provisions,” including the lack of consultation in awarding energy concessions on indigenous land, have occurred.

But the pristine forests of eastern Yasuní are not the only place Ecuador is seeking to open up for new drilling. Ecuador’s Hydrocarbon Minister Carlos Pérez unexpectedly announced last month that an oil auction planned for the end of 2018 would be reduced from the original sixteen blocks to two. Pérez cited “conflict with communities” and risk for companies as the reason for the 14-block, 2.8 million-acre reduction in the upcoming auction.

Indigenous nationalities have long opposed oil drilling in this area and decried the government’s failure to properly conduct Free, Prior, and Informed Consent with local communities, which played a major part in the departure of multiple companies in past years, including ConocoPhillips, Burlington Resources, ARCO, Perenco, and CGC. Yet Pérez alleged that no problem existed in auctioning the remaining two blocks, 86 and 87, because, he claimed, “there aren’t any indigenous [people] there.” However, the two blocks, located along the Peruvian border, overlap with the titled territory of the Sapara, Shiwiar, and Kichwa nations, and Tagaeri-Taromenane sightings have been reported there. If advanced, the project would also require construction of a new pipeline in Peru to reach the remote oil fields and bring the crude to market.

This oil will likely be headed right here to California. Ecuador provides 20% of California’s foreign crude imports, second only to Saudi Arabia. Crude from Yasuní and any new drill along the Ecuador-Peru border will be processed in Golden State refineries and end up in cars and trucks there. Given the recent IPCC report and this week’s announcement that in 2018 CO2 emissions actually increased by 2.7% which puts us on track for the very worst case climate change scenarios, there couldn’t be a more urgent mandate to get off of fossil fuels.

Meanwhile, Ecuador’s appointment of a career oil insider as Environment Minister and its bait and switch on Yasuní indicates that the government seems more intent on protecting drilling access than isolated peoples and Yasuní’s renown biodiversity.



Copyright © 2018 Amazon Watch




There is a serious shortage of child care supply in the United States.
A child care desert is defined as any community “with more than 50 children under age 5 that contains either no child care providers or so few that there are more than 3 times as many children as licensed child care slots.”
For the first time, the Center for American Progress is comprehensively tracking child care deserts in all 50 states.
• According to a new CAP report, 51% of people in the U.S. live in a child care desert.
• Overall, rural areas have the highest concentration of child care deserts.
• Hispanic/Latino populations disproportionately live in these areas.
The report also offers key policy recommendations:
• Improve data collection to help policymakers determine the solutions needed to address the child care supply gap.
• Increase public investments in child care and early education.
• Raise child care subsidy reimbursement rates.
• Invest in child care infrastructure in all child care settings.
Parents shouldn’t have to worry about access to safe, affordable, and available child care.
Check out America’s Child Care Deserts in 2018 and accompanying interactives that map America’s nearly 235,000 licensed child care providers across the country and assess various social factors like race and income by neighborhood.