Mississippi residents flooded out for four months think ecosystem-devastating pumps could save them

“There are layers of reasons why this is a bad project,” said Melissa Samet, senior counsel at the National Wildlife Federation, who has followed the project for decades, ”but worst of all is it really gives a false promise of hope to people who are suffering from flooding.”

…Many residents believe there is a solution to their persistent, yearly flooding woes — if only the government would cut through the red tape to enact it. Locals like Deere believe that an unfinished Army Corps of Engineers project known as the Yazoo Pumps, a potential drain for the levee system that protects the Delta, would hold back the floodwaters that regularly threaten almost 20,000 people here.

…Residents of the region, local farmers and Mississippi politicians are calling for the revival of the pumps — a project vetoed by then-President George W. Bush’s administration, called “one of the worst projects ever conceived by Congress” by the late Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain in 2004, and endlessly decried by environmental advocates.

…The project has been debated for almost 80 years, with frustration and anger building with the passing time.

….Environmental advocates and longtime civil servants who have worked on the project, however, argue that the pumps come at a high cost, potentially draining tens of thousands of vital wetland acres that supports one of the most unique wildlife habitats in the country.

…Conservationists say the Delta’s bottomland hardwood wetlands create one of the most important ecosystems in the country. Twenty percent of the nation’s ducks, 450 different species, including 257 species of birds, rely on these wetlands’ natural resources.

They [would] be devastated by the pumps, according to the EPA’s veto, which said that [up to] 67,000 acres of wetlands could be drained if the pumps were installed.

…“It was a hard decision because EPA knew the area needed flood protection but our analysis of widespread environmental impacts, costs, and other complications fully justified the veto.”

…Buyouts, wetland reforestation and raised homes and roadways are ideas proposed by Shabman in another report that he produced for the EPA about potential alternatives. Environmental advocates, however, claim local leaders were never curious to explore such ideas because they didn’t come with expensive construction contracts benefiting a small number of people in Mississippi.

…Because of those rising waters, Branning entered his property into the Wetlands Preserve Program in 1999, which provides him compensation for the land that he can’t farm if he allows it to be reforested.

“We did that because the program added value, in my opinion, to the land because the land had been cleared and being farmed unsuccessfully numerous years,” he said. “It may do okay for two years and then in two years the high water comes.”

…Branning said he’s happy that it’s helping the environment and noticed that some wildlife has returned, which is good for him as a hunter.

Mississippi residents flooded out for four months say the EPA could save them but won’t



The U.S. Women’s Soccer Team Deserves to Celebrate

Instead of Team USA being celebrated for what its players achieved, the victory became an opportunity to lecture these women on how to behave. That lecture is all the more galling given that, in March, the team filed a gender-discrimination lawsuit against the U.S. Soccer Federation.

… It isn’t the U.S. national team’s job to spare Thailand from humiliation—especially when, in this phase of the tournament, the differential between goals scored and goals allowed can determine whether a team advances. Considering that Alex Morgan tied a tournament record with five goals, and Morgan’s teammates Sam Mewis and Rose Lavelle each scored the first World Cup goals of their careers, this team had every right to celebrate as it wanted.

…Despite having won three World Cup titles, earned four Olympic gold medals, and generated millions of dollars more in revenue than the men in 2015, the women sometimes earn 38 percent of what the men earn per game.

In fact, the 13 goals the women scored were more than the men have tallied in every World Cup appearance since 2006 combined. So if anyone deserved to celebrate on their own terms, it’s these women.

The U.S. Women’s Soccer Team Deserves to Celebrate – The Atlantic


Iran will get the blame, but the Gulf of Oman truth is likely a lot murkier

 Inevitably, similarities have been drawn between Thursday’s attacks and events a month ago, when four ships were targeted near the Emirati port of Furajah. For that, officials in Washington and beyond pointed the finger at Iran.

But Thursday’s incident is significantly more blatant. Yet the same officials will doubtless blame Tehran again. If and when that happens, we should remember US national security advisor John Bolton promised to present evidence to the UN Security Council backing up those previous claims, but has yet to do so.

…There are few easy facts here, as there are few easy culprits. But the sense of uncertainty stokes rather than dampens the fears of mismanagement and conflict.

Iran will get the blame, but the Gulf of Oman truth is likely a lot murkier – CNN


Elon Musk vs. Jeff Bezos: How their space plans are different, similar

Musk, the tech mogul behind Tesla and the founder of SpaceX (a now-$33-billion rocket company), wants to establish a permanent, self-sustaining city on Mars.

Meanwhile, Bezos — the founder and CEO of Amazon — has his own space company, Blue Origin. Its work so far focuses on building a “road to space” with new rockets that could ultimately pave the way for floating colonies.

Elon Musk vs. Jeff Bezos: How their space plans are different, similar – Business Insider


Toxic Stress Affects How Kids Learn

Children with low family income—children with a family income of $20,000 or less—are more likely to encounter threatening experiences and the “toxic stress” that accompanies it. They also find black children generally have more exposure to these experiences than white children.

…These threatening experiences cause particular physiological reactions: When these reactions happen too often, the body’s responses can become chronic and disrupt normal processes.

…Schools can be a hindrance, the report notes, if they have unsympathetic or threatening adults—or they can help, providing mental-health services that enable children to process trauma and improve their academic performance.

Toxic Stress Affects How Black and Poor Kids Learn – CityLab