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Member since: Tue Feb 10, 2004, 12:08 PM
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Environmental Scientist

Journal Archives

Retired Senator And Intelligence Vice Chair: Hang Snowden Publicly When We Get Him

Former Sen. Saxby Chambliss says he believes Edward Snowden should be publicly hanged as soon the United States can “get our hands on him.”

The Republican from Georgia, who recently retired from the Senate, served previously as the vice chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.

Chambliss was speaking at the University of Georgia in July, reflecting on his career in the Senate when he made the comments. He was responding to a question about the hack of the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), the largest data breach in U.S. government history.

“This is real and the worst part of it — not unlike the Snowden incident, which I hope none of you have sympathy for him because we need to hang him on the courthouse square as soon as we get our hands on him — but just like we’re gonna lose American lives as a result of this breach,” Chambliss said earlier this month.


Why the GOP Primary Is Doomed by the Free Market

On Tuesday, if all goes according to plan, Ohio governor John Kasich is scheduled to announce his presidential candidacy. In any normal year, someone with Kasich’s résumé — ex-investment banker, former Congressman, and moderate two-term governor of the swing state that has decided every presidential election since 1964 — would surely have no trouble breaking through. But this isn’t any normal year. Kasich is set to become the 16th declared candidate to enter the Republican primary, tying the all-time size record. According to the latest Public Policy Poll, Kasich will debut in second-to-last place with one percent support. If these numbers hold, he'll be barred from the opening Fox News debate scheduled for August 6 in Cleveland.

That a popular Midwest governor who was reelected with 64 percent of the vote last year finds himself at the bottom of the barrel is just the latest proof that this year's GOP primary has gone completely off the rails. The grown-ups in the party have taken to blaming Donald Trump for the chaos, but the truth is that the forces are much bigger than Trump's hair. What this year's primary shows is that — at least when it comes to presidential elections — the GOP is at risk of becoming less of a political party and more like a talent agency for the conservative media industry. Jumping into the race provides a (pseudo)candidate with a national platform to profit from becoming a political celebrity. "If you don’t run, you’re an idiot," a top GOP consultant told me.

In the old days, the path to profiting from politics led politicians into the corner offices of banks, corporations, and lobbying firms. Many still go that route. But with her 2008 breakout, Sarah Palin disrupted the GOP nominating process and made being a potential primary contender a full-time job. Her decision to cash in by quitting the Alaska governor's office for Fox News and tea-party stardom established a new business model. As this year’s ballooning GOP field shows, there are many long-shot candidates who are seeking to follow her path. Since January 2014, Ben Carson has earned as much as $27 million from delivering 141 speeches and publishing three books including You Have a Brain: A Teen’s Guide to T.H.I.N.K. B.I.G. Former Hewlett Packard CEO Carly Fiorina made nearly $1 million in speeches last year and published a memoir. Mike Huckabee’s Fox News contract was worth $350,000 a year before he left to join the race, according to sources. This year he also released a book God, Guns, Grits, and Gravy. Ted Cruz made a reported $1.5 million for his book, A Time for Truth.

These candidates have made six- and seven-figure paydays even before the first ballot is cast. With hours of free airtime on television to promote their brand, their market value is sure to increase. “Even if you lose, you exponentially increase your marketability,” the consultant told me. “Right now, let's say you’re giving speeches for $20 grand. You run and it becomes $40,000. If you do well, maybe there’s a Fox show. Then you write a book about how to save the party. Then you write another about why the next president sucks. There’s a million marketing opportunities."



Universal plaque-busting drug could treat various brain diseases

A virus found in sewage has spawned a unique drug that targets plaques implicated in a host of brain-crippling diseases, including Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD).

Results from tests of the drug, announced this week, show that it breaks up plaques in mice affected with Alzheimer’s disease or Parkinson’s disease, and improves the memories and cognitive abilities of the animals.

Other promising results in rats and monkeys mean that the drug developers, NeuroPhage Pharmaceuticals, are poised to apply for permission to start testing it in people, with trials starting perhaps as early as next year.

The drug is the first that seems to target and destroy the multiple types of plaque implicated in human brain disease. Plaques are clumps of misfolded proteins that gradually accumulate into sticky, brain-clogging gunk that kills neurons and robs people of their memories and other mental faculties. Different kinds of misfolded proteins are implicated in different brain diseases, and some can be seen within the same condition (see “Proteins gone rogue”, below).


Stephen Hawking and Yuri Milner Announce $100M Initiative to Seek ET

By Lee Billings | July 20, 2015

SETI—the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence—has been one of the most captivating areas of science since its inception in 1960, when the astronomer Frank Drake used an 85-foot radio telescope in the first-ever attempt to detect interstellar radio transmissions sent by beings outside our solar system. Yet despite its high public visibility and near-ubiquity in blockbuster Hollywood science fiction, throughout most of its 55-year history SETI has languished on the fringes of scientific research, garnering relatively scant funding and only small amounts of dedicated observation time on world-class telescopes.

Although Milner has made his name—and billions of dollars—through investments in Facebook, Alibaba, and many other tech start-ups, his true passion is science, which he has demonstrated through his formation of the Breakthrough Prize Foundation. This organization awards the world's most lavish scientific prizes. Milner's latest project is part of the Foundation's new Breakthrough Initiatives division and is called Breakthrough Listen. Providing $100 million in funding over the next decade to top SETI researchers, Breakthrough Listen will allow new state-of-the-art radio and optical surveys to take place using the world's premiere telescopes, creating the most ambitious and robust SETI program yet performed. The project is set to begin making observations in 2016.



Bernie-mania spreads to Texas as Sanders' speech draws crowd of 5,000

Ninety minutes before the scheduled start of Bernie Sanders’ speech on Sunday night, a 500-person-long line snaked around the arena, in 100F heat – and in Texas.

The Democratic presidential hopeful’s fans showed up long before the doors opened and bellowed their approval once inside, as he spoke for more than an hour in front of 5,000 people, concluding a weekend in which he addressed about 25,000 in Arizona and Texas and showed that Republican-dominated states are not immune to Berniemania.

The independent Vermont senator and self-described democratic socialist attracted more than 8,000 people to a rally in Dallas earlier in the day and 11,000 in Phoenix on Saturday, the highest turnout of his campaign.

Like his speech at the Phoenix Convention Center, the Houston rally was moved to a larger venue: an 8,000-capacity basketball arena at the University of Houston. A speech by Hillary Clinton last month at Texas Southern University, less than a mile away, drew an attendance of around 1,000 on a weekday afternoon.



Monday Toon Roundup 2- The Rest










Monday Toon Roundup 1- Trumpublican

In Dallas, Sanders' Tough Talk Fires Up Thousands

DALLAS — U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, the Vermont independent running for president as a Democrat, rallied thousands of Texans here Sunday afternoon with a progressive clarion call that included some tough talk for Democratic opponents who may be overlooking solidly red Texas in their campaign calculus.

"One of the problems that exists in American politics today, in my view, is that the Democratic Party has conceded half of the states in the country at the national level, and that's wrong," Sanders told a raucous crowd inside a downtown hotel ballroom. "We've got to fight them in 50 states, including Texas."

"If we are serious about change in America, we can't just do it in blue states," he later added, emphasizing the need for Democrats to have a "50-state strategy" to win the White House.

Organizers estimated the rally drew more than 7,000 people, though a more official count was expected later in the day. In any case, the event appeared to be the largest held by any presidential candidate in Texas so far this election cycle.



Trump Awakens Kerry’s Vietnam Anger

The Iran nuclear deal that could prevent a war must have evoked another deal to end a war almost 50 years ago in the Secretary of State.

John Kerry was angry.

“Listen to this. Listen to what Trump just said about John McCain,” Kerry was saying over the phone. “ ‘He’s not a war hero. He’s a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured.’ ”

“That’s unbelievable,” Kerry said. “That’s beyond outrageous.”

“John and I have some serious differences on a lot of things but he is nothing other than a hero and a good man. Where was Trump when John got shot down over North Vietnam? In school? At a party? Where was he?”


Sunday's Doonesbury-Hot Crow

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