Logging Bill Passes House With Democrats Joining GOP To Cut Rural Education Funding

Green – The Huffington Post
Logging Bill Passes House With Democrats Joining GOP To Cut Rural Education Funding
WASHINGTON — The partisan drama surrounding the House GOP’s defund-Obamacare bill on Friday obscured the passage of another piece of legislation with modest bipartisan support. Shortly after the Obamacare vote, the House approved a logging bill that would effectively privatize broad swaths of national forest land, mandate the logging of national forests, and cut education funding for some rural schools.

The bill, aggressively opposed by environmental groups and President Barack Obama, passed with bipartisan support by a vote of 244-172, with 17 Democrats joining 227 Republicans to approve it. Democrats were pressed hard to vote for the bill by, among others, the National Education Association, a teachers union with 3 million members, and by the typically environmentally friendly Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.). Four Republicans and 11 Democrats did not vote.

The creatively titled “Healthy Forests for Healthy Communities Act” would require most national forest land with at least 20 cubic feet of available timber — roughly one mid-sized tree — to be designated as available for logging. The land would be subject to aggressive annual logging quotas, except for territory in the National Wilderness Preservation System and where federal rules prohibit the removal of vegetation. The measure would require at least 200,000 additional acres of national forest to be opened for development to generate revenue for local governments.

Obama has threatened to veto the bill. Every major U.S. environmental group views the legislation as an ecological nightmare.

“It’s arguably one of the worst forestry bills our nation has seen in decades,” said Ani Kame’enui, a Washington Sierra Club representative. “It overrides essentially all laws and regulations of 100 years of professional forest management.”

Alex Taurel, deputy legislative director with the League of Conservation Voters, called the bill “extreme.”

“Threatening a government shutdown over Obamacare isn’t the only radical proposal House Republicans put forward this week,” Taurel said. “Their extreme forestry bill would spur massive amounts of logging that would decimate forests Americans count on for clean drinking water, recreation, and healthy fish and wildlife habitat.”

School districts that include national forest land face chronic funding problems. Land development is restricted in national forests, leaving little for the school districts to tax to fund local schools. For decades, funding for these districts came from logging.

After years of declining logging revenue, Congress switched to a different funding scheme in 2000, giving rural counties the option to receive direct payments from the federal government. Counties typically accept the direct payments because it means more money than a 25 percent share of logging proceeds. The bill that cleared the House on Friday will end the direct aid program after one year, leaving schools dependent on logging money.

The NEA and the National Association of Counties — which typically support Democratic spending priorities — joined industrial logging companies lobbying in favor of the bill.

“We refer to this as ‘active management,'” said NEA’s Mary Kusler. “We knew that this safety net was not going to last forever. So this is a transition bill from a safety net to a path forward.”

The bill nevertheless would cut funding for rural schools and counties. County governments will see a funding decline of $70 million a year under the bill, with rural school districts losing $65 million, according to an analysis of Congressional Budget Office data by Headwaters Economics, a Montana-based economic research firm. While such numbers are minuscule in the context of the federal budget, they are significant for local governments, which have been forced to cut teachers and other government workers in recent years.

“You can’t cut enough to make up for what they’re getting from the treasury now,” Chris Mehl, Headwaters Economics policy director, told HuffPost.

The American Federation of Teachers did not take a position on the bill.

The bill’s promises of new forest fire prevention policies helped persuade some Democrats to cross the aisle. Ten of the 17 Democrats who voted for the bill come from Western states susceptible to wildfires. DeFazio authored a provision that would exempt land in 18 Oregon counties from federal environmental laws, allowing higher logging revenues. The Sierra Club, Earthjustice, Defenders of Wildlife and other groups said DeFazio’s bill would “privatize” national forest land by exempting it from federal regulations and turning it over to industrial production. A DeFazio representative was not available for comment.

“It makes no sense from a conservation standpoint and it makes no sense from a community standpoint,” said Rebecca Judd, legislative counsel for Earthjustice. Judd called the bill “one of the most terrible pieces of forest legislation that we’ve seen in a long time.”

Even the anti-wildfire provisions pose problems for environmentalists, who argued that the bill is an irresponsible version of a decade-old GOP bill signed into law by President George W. Bush. That legislation gave the government wide authority to engage in logging on public land for fire prevention purposes, but targeted projects that would protect communities most in danger of wildfires and included safeguards for ecologically sensitive areas.

U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell told a congressional committee hearing April 11 there was no need for more laws addressing wildfires. DeFazio asked Tidwell if the forest service was impeded by any environmental law constraints or budgetary concerns. Tidwell replied: “It’s a capacity issue right now.”

DeFazio responded: “So it’s a budgetary constraint. You don’t have enough money to do the projects, the projects you could do under the existing laws … Is that correct?”

Tidwell said DeFazio had it right. The Forest Service just needed more funding.

Healthy Living – The Huffington Post
6 Steps To Reset Your Sleep Patterns For Fall
Shelby Freedman Harris, PsyD for YouBeauty

For most of us, the summer is a time to let loose and enjoy the longer days as much as possible. With fewer schedules and demands (and more fun!), comes a less strict sleep-wake schedule and daily routine. Once summer flies by and fall is knocking at our doorstep, many people find it more difficult to adjust their sleep schedule back to what it was before all of the summertime fun began. Although it is especially true for children who go back to school in August or September, adults can also suffer the consequences from shifted summer sleep schedules.

More from YouBeauty:

QUIZ: Are You Getting Enough Sleep?

Do This During the Day for a Better Night’s Sleep

Does Alcohol Help Or Hurt Sleep?

Once fall arrives, we might find that we are still doing many activities in the evening and nighttime, making it difficult to fall asleep at the earlier desired time. This then snowballs into more trouble getting up in the morning, daytime sleepiness and sleeping in on the weekends as an attempt to “catch up” on lost sleep (which rarely works).

Some lucky people find that they can just change their sleep timing to go to bed earlier and wake earlier without any issue. If you’re one of those people, the sooner you start keeping a steady sleep-wake schedule seven days per week, the better! If you aren’t one of those people (most aren’t), here are some suggestions that can help.

1. Create A Fake Sunset At Home

Dim the lights and avoid any screen time (i.e. computers, cell phones, TVs) at least one hour before your new desired bedtime (but ideally two hours before). Melatonin is a hormone that’s naturally produced in our brains and it comes out when the sun starts to set. Melatonin helps to induce sleepiness and keeps us asleep throughout the night. Bright light can limit melatonin production, and blue light (especially from all the electronics screens) is an even bigger offender.

2. Wind Down

While dimming all the lights in your house, practice winding down your body and mind as well. Find relaxing activities and hobbies that are calm, quiet and soothing. This is not the time to return emails, finish work and be active. Sleep isn’t an on/off switch — it is more like a dimmer switch where you turn down the lights and your body.

3. Light Bright

Do the opposite in the morning. When you wake up, get up and open all the curtains in your house. Get as much natural light as you can. Eat breakfast in front of a window. Bright light stops melatonin production, wakes us up and helps us keep a more consistent bed and wake schedule.

4. Stay The Course

Keep a steady sleep-wake schedule seven days a week. Our bodies don’t have a “weekday” switch and a “weekend” switch. We need to keep things steady. If you sleep in on the weekends, you’ll only make it harder to go to bed at a more normal time come Sunday night.

5. Slow And Steady

If you’re really struggling with adjusting, some people find that gradually adjusting to a new schedule can help. Go to bed 15 minutes earlier (and wake up 15 minutes earlier) every day until you reach your target bed and wake times. This also means that you should dim the lights and wind down at home 15 minutes earlier every night.

6. Eat For Sleep

Get back on a healthy overall diet. We often loosen up our diet rules over the summer in favor of the ice cream and pie. Limit sugar at night, and avoid anything with caffeine (soda, coffee, tea, chocolate) after noon. Avoid alcohol within three hours of bedtime since it can disrupt sleep even further.

If you’ve tried the above suggestions and you are still struggling with sleep issues, talk with your doctor or a sleep specialist since there are other treatment options that can be quite useful.

Mariel Hemingway On Her Spiritual Partnership With Bobby Williams (VIDEO)
Mariel Hemingway, the Oscar-nominated actress and granddaughter to novelist Ernest Hemingway, met former stuntman Bobby Williams through a mutual friend five years ago. Since then, their relationship has evolved into a spiritual partnership with a shared love of nature. In this clip from “Super Soul Sunday” on OWN, Hemingway talks about her instant attraction to Williams and how their connection is deeper than anything she’s ever felt.

“It’s the first time I can honestly be with somebody — be wholly myself, and yet share space — and God, it feels good,” Hemingway says in the video.

“This is a spiritual partnership, I can tell.” Oprah says. “Gary Zukav’s definition [of a spiritual partnership] is a partnership between equals for the purpose of spiritual growth. And what’s so interesting is a lot of people figure that out along the way, but you all knew it from the beginning.”

“Instantly,” Williams says.

“That this is somebody I can grow my life with,” Oprah says. “That’s the only way you can be fully 100 percent yourself.”

“Absolutely,” Hemingway agrees. “I mean, there was a recognition, and it was more than chemistry. It was, oh my God, this person speaks my language.”

“And he can see me,” Hemingway adds, choking up. “And I’ve never felt seen.”

“I love that,” Oprah says.

Oprah’s conversation with Hemingway and Williams on “Super Soul Sunday” airs Sunday, September 22 at 11 a.m. ET on OWN.

Good News – The Huffington Post
University Of Michigan’s ‘Go Blue’ Skywriting Stunt Sparks Fundraising Campaign To Fight Cancer (PHOTO)
EAST LANSING, Mich. — The words “Go Blue” written in the sky near Spartan Stadium before last weekend’s Michigan State football game have sparked a fundraising campaign that’s raising thousands of dollars to fight cancer.

Scott Westerman, executive director of the MSU Alumni Association, was among the fans at Saturday’s game against Youngstown State in East Lansing who saw the big message – a reference to one of the colors of Michigan State’s in-state rival Michigan. Westerman, a pilot, estimated it cost a University of Michigan supporter a few thousand dollars to needle Michigan State fans. In response, Westerman started encouraging people to donate some green online to the Michigan Ovarian Cancer Alliance. It had raised more than $9,000 as of late Tuesday.

“I don’t fault the Michigan fan who did it, but it felt like it would make sense to take our rivalry to a more productive level,” Westerman told MLive.com. He wants to see how much money Michigan State supporters raise and challenge Michigan alumni to match it.

Westerman’s wife, Colleen, is a two-time ovarian cancer survivor who received care at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center. The fundraising effort drew so much attention that it froze the Michigan Ovarian Cancer Alliance’s PayPal account.

“It couldn’t keep up with the donations,” Michelle Shepherd, secretary on MiOCA’s board of directors, told the Detroit Free Press.

The Spartans beat Youngstown State 55-17, but the skywriting came up at Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio’s weekly news conference Tuesday. He joked that it was a reference to his high school in Zanesville, Ohio, The Detroit News reported.

“Yeah, my high school coach was here, they are the Blue Devils,” Dantonio said. “I figured somebody did that for him.”

___

Online:

Deliciously Bizarre Cartoons Turn Puppies Into Bros, Frogs Into Nerds
Here’s an illustrator you and your awesome third grade neighbor can both appreciate. Andrew Ho‘s colorful portrayals of the animal kingdom combine a youthful sense of imagination with cultural cues for the older set. If Henri Matisse and Mickalene Thomas teamed up to create an NSFW children’s book– hey, it could happen– we imagine it would look something like this.

In an email to the Huffington Post, the California artist described his works as autobiographical, or more specifically, as “a journal that records my experience.” If his experiences include fashion-forward geese and athletic puppy dogs, we have to admit we’re truly jealous. Check out Ho’s vibrant journal below.

2013-09-16-Game_of_Chess_1.jpg

2013-09-16-WORRYTIME.jpg

2013-09-16-I_Cant_Help_Myself.jpg

2013-09-16-Blue_Gaul.jpg

2013-09-16-Still_Life_1.jpg

2013-09-16-The_Shop.jpg

2013-09-16-Reclining_Nude_Purple_1.jpg

2013-09-16-Worry_Resting_1.jpg

2013-09-16-Vanitas_Den.jpg

2013-09-16-Uh_Huh_Honey_Blue_Studio_1.jpg

2013-09-16-Reclining_Nude_Green_Payton_2.jpg

h/t It’s Nice That

#alkalinity #alkalinitymovement #7.2 #sevenpointtwo

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