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

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The Latest: Wife filed 2008 protective order onLA Theater gunman


LAFAYETTE, La. (AP) — The latest on the shooting at a Lafayette, Louisiana, movie theater (times are local):
10 a.m.

The wife and other family members of the Louisiana theater gunman asked for a temporary protective order in 2008 against the man.

Court documents seeking the order said John Houser, “exhibited extreme erratic behavior and has made ominous as well as disturbing statements.”

The documents said even though he lived in Phenix City, Alabama, he had come to Carroll County, Georgia, where they lived and “perpetrated various acts of family violence.”

Houser “has a history of mental health issues, i.e., manic depression and/or bi-polar disorder” the filing said.



McConnell sets up vote to repeal ObamaCare

By Alexander Bolton - 07/24/15 09:37 AM EDT

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has set up a vote to repeal ObamaCare in a bit do appease conservatives upset over a second planned vote to revive the Export-Import Bank.

McConnell on Friday announced he would file cloture — a motion to end a filibuster — on amendments to fully repeal ObamaCare and to reauthorize the Ex-Im Bank. Both votes likely will take place Sunday.

McConnell argued that taking votes on both amendments offered a "balanced" way forward.

"Ex-Im shouldn't be the only vote we take on this bill, and under the compromise I just filed, it won't be. That's a much fairer way forward," he said, adding that Republicans will "continue to fight for" a repeal of ObamaCare.

The Export-Import Bank is staunchly opposed by conservatives, including presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), who shortly after McConnell spoke denounced the decision.



Pollution isn't colorblind: environmental hazards kill more black Americans

by Keith Ellison and Van Jones

Thanks to people’s movements like Black Lives Matter and the Fight For 15, the call for racial and economic justice is getting louder and stronger. But while we are out on the streets fighting for equality, our kids are being poisoned by the air they breathe. Environmental injustices are taking black lives – that’s why our fight for equality has to include climate and environmental justice too.

African-Americans are more likely to live near environmental hazards like power plants and be exposed to hazardous air pollution, including higher levels of nitrogen oxides, ozone, particulate matter and carbon dioxide than their white counterparts. The presence of these pollutants increases rates of asthma, respiratory illness and cardiovascular disease. It puts newborn babies at risk. It causes missed days of work and school. We can’t afford this. Black kids already have the highest rate of asthma in the nation, and our infant mortality rate is nearly double the national rate.

Increased health problems hit people financially. African-Americans typically spend a higher share of their income on health care than their white counterparts (16.5% v 12.2%), and roughly one in five African-Americans don’t have health insurance.

President Obama’s Clean Power Plan is a desperately needed response to this problem. The Clean Power Plan would cut carbon pollution from power plants and put our country on a path towards cleaner energy solutions. It could stop up to 6,600 premature deaths and prevent up to 150,000 asthma attacks in children over the next 15 years – especially in African-American communities.


Scott Walker, first Alec president? Long ties to controversial lobby raise concern

When Scott Walker strides to the podium to deliver the keynote speech at the annual meeting of the American Legislative Exchange Council (Alec) in San Diego on Thursday morning, it will not be just another campaign stop. It will also be tacit recognition of the Republican presidential candidate’s relationship with one of the nation’s most controversial and powerful lobbying networks.

It is a relationship that spans two decades. Since he first took public office in 1993 as a Wisconsin legislator, through to his current position as that state’s governor, Walker has maintained close ties to Alec, with policies to match. Many of Walker’s most contentious actions – a tough-on-crime bill that sent incarceration rates soaring, stand-your-ground gun laws, protection of corporate vested interests, attacks on union rights and many more – have borne the Alec seal of approval.

Should Walker win the Republican nomination in 2016 (a plausible outcome) and then defeat the Democratic candidate to take the presidency (a harder, though not unthinkable, challenge) he would become the first Alec alum to enter the Oval Office. In short, it is now possible to conceive of the first Alec president of the United States.

A poll on Wednesday by Quinnipiac University that tests hypothetical candidate scenarios in the general election next November has Walker beating Hillary Clinton in three key states – Colorado, Iowa and Virginia – by between three and nine percentage points.

To Alec’s critics, the prospect is chilling.


Leaving the US for a German degree

Edgar Martinez knew that he wanted to study in Germany ever since he was in high school. The German language has inspired the 20-year-old American so much that he left Chicago, his home town, to study Business Administration in the rather small town of Marburg in central Germany. "This language stimulates me intellectually, and I want to make it part of my life," says Martinez. "Studying here has just been a perfect fit".

Allan Liversidge, on the other hand, was not very happy with his decision. After completing his Bachelor's degree in history, he left Wisconsin for Bonn to pursue a Master's degree. Though filled with hope at the start, studying Germany upset him. He was very disappointed at how little support he received from teachers outside of lectures and seminars."I felt left in the lurch, and I had to leave," Liversidge says. In 2014, the 23-year-old dropped out of Bonn University and is still finding a way out.

Martinez and Liversidge are two of a growing number of Americans who decide to study in Germany. The number of students coming from the US has hit a record high, increasing from 2,817 in the academic year 2003/04 to 4,359 a decade later, with a significant increase of 54.7 percent. The fact that American students come all the way to Germany despite the high-ranked universities in their own country speaks to the growing popularity of German institutions of higher education.

According to the new publication "Wissenschaft Weltoffen 2015," released by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) and the German Centre for Research on Higher Education and Science Studies (DZHW) on July 22 this year, Germany has become the third most popular host country for students to pursue their studies after the US and the UK. Why would the US students choose Germany when they can enjoy high-quality education at home, without going through the trouble of learning a new language and adapting to cultural differences?



Friday Toon Roundup 3: The Rest



The Issue






Friday Toon Roundup 2: Republican Death Race 2016

Friday Toon Roundup 1: Peace Deal

Volcanic ash blankets the skies over Indonesian archipelago: Simultaneous eruption of 5 volcanoes

Five volcanoes of the Indonesian archipelago simultaneously erupted on Wednesday, July 22, 2015. The spewing ashes clouded the skies over the islands, suspending the flights on three airports in the area. Since last month, 13 000 people have been evacuated due to volcanic eruptions in Indonesia, mainly across the slopes of Sinabung in Tanah Karo District.

Ashes erupting simultaneously from Gamalama, Dukono, Sinabung, Raung and Karangetang, represent a natural phenomenon, and are not considered unusual among the nation surrounded by about 130 active volcanoes, said Dr. Surono, Indonesian geophysicist and volcanologist. "Our evaluation showed there is no extraordinary natural phenomenon that triggered simultaneous eruptions of the five volcanoes."

Transport Ministry spokesman Julius Adravida Barata said Jember and Banyuwangi airports closed Tuesday, July 21 and Bali's international airport was closed for several hours on Wednesday, July 22. 37 flights to and from Bali's Ngurah Rai airport were canceled, as well.



Fortress older than the pyramids is uncovered in Monmouth

Archaeologists have unearthed a wooden island old enough to have been built by the Flintstones under a modern Barratt estate.

The fortified farmhouse on stilts in the middle of an ice age lake is so old it could have even been built before Stonehenge was created.

At 4,900 years old it's probably even older than the Pyramids and was probably built to provide a natural moat to protect the rich inhabitants from attackers in an area that is now on the Welsh borders.

It was around the time early man started to live communally and archaeologist Steve Clarke says it is only the second "crannog" to be found in England and Wales and much older than the first.

"We never thought the timbers were as old as they are, it's an amazing discovery," he said.

Read more: http://www.westerndailypress.co.uk/Fortress-older-pyramids-uncovered/story-27466572-detail/story.html
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