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Home country: USA
Current location: Georgia
Member since: Tue Feb 10, 2004, 12:08 PM
Number of posts: 37,732

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Environmental Scientist

Journal Archives

Hawaii Democrat takes on Obama

One of the toughest critics of President Obama’s strategy against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) is Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, a Democrat who represents his home state of Hawaii.

Gabbard has taken the administration to task for refusing to use the term “radical Islam” and called for the White House to take be more aggressive.

In an interview with The Hill, Gabbard said she has spoken to the White House about her criticism, though she has yet to speak with Obama himself.
“The president hasn’t called me. I’ve had a number of ongoing conversations with different people in the administration about some of these issues, both one-on-one, as well as in smaller, classified group settings,” she said.

“I’ve never been asked directly to not do my job. So obviously, there are areas where we’re going to agree to disagree.”


Obama’s Warren attacks backfire

President Obama’s sharp rebuke of Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D) over his ambitious trade agenda is backfiring in the House, where the personal attacks are alienating the same Democrats the president is courting for votes.

Warren, a freshman liberal from Massachusetts, has emerged as among the fiercest and most visible opponents of Obama’s trade wish list, which includes deals with countries in Asia and Europe the president is hoping to make a legacy of his White House tenure.

The tough tenor was designed to rally the backing of more Democrats, particularly in the House, where GOP leaders are struggling to find the 217 votes needed to pass the fast-track bill aimed at facilitating those pacts.

Instead, Obama’s rhetoric — he said his critics were “just wrong” in an interview with Yahoo published Saturday — seems to have exacerbated tensions between Democrats and the White House, which could make it tougher to move one of the president’s top legislative priorities through Congress this year.

“You and I can disagree about policy, but I can’t call you a bad person or impugn your motives or anything else — except at great risk,” Rep. Jim McDermott (Wash.), a liberal Democrat who’s undecided but leaning against the trade bill, said Wednesday.


Toon: America is becoming less Christian

Krugman- Fighting for History

And, I’m on the ground in England, jet-lagged but maybe ready to resume blogging. For today, just a quick thought inspired by two seemingly unrelated comments.

First, in a postmortem on the UK election Simon Wren-Lewis notes one failure of Labour in particular: it made no effort at all to fight the false narrative of Blair-Brown profligacy. Wren-Lewis writes,

I suspect within the Labour hierarchy the view was to look forward rather than go over the past, but you cannot abandon the writing of history to your opponents.

Meanwhile, Brian Beutler notes the very different ways Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush are dealing with the legacies of the presidents who bore their surnames. Bill Clinton presided over an era of peace and immense prosperity; nonetheless, Hillary is breaking with some of his policy legacy, on issues from trade and financial regulation to criminal justice. George W. Bush presided over utter disaster on all fronts; nonetheless, Jeb is adopting the same policies and even turning to the same advisers.

These are, I think, related stories. Progressives tend to focus on the future, on what we do now; they are also, by inclination, open-minded and if anything eager to show their flexibility by changing their doctrine in the face of evidence. Conservatives cling to what they imagine to be eternal verities, and fiercely defend their legends.



Senate strikes deal to pass fast-track trade bill

Source: Politico

Senate leaders have reached a deal to advance President Barack Obama’s trade initiative after a failed vote prompted a furious round of negotiating on Wednesday.

After trading offers throughout the night, party leaders agreed to vote on a fast-track trade bill that was blocked just 24 hours before by Democrats who’d wanted more assurances that their priorities would also be considered.

The agreement, announced by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on the Senate floor, would give Democrats a chance to vote on two of their trade priorities as standalone bills, in addition to the fast-track measure.

Holding the additional votes would “not imperil” the fast-track bill, McConnell said. Republicans, pro-trade Democrats and the president all say the Trade Promotion Authority measure, which would allow the president to expedite trade pacts through Congress, is vital for approving a huge Pacific Rim trade agreement currently being negotiated by the administration.

Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2015/05/trade-bill-standoff-senate-117900.html

'Momentum on our side' in trade fight, declares Sherrod Brown

A top Democratic opponent of President Obama’s trade agenda on Wednesday said a failed procedural vote in the Senate has shifted the momentum into his camp.

Sen. Sherrod Brown (Ohio), a member of the Senate Finance Committee who is vehemently opposed to fast-tracking trade deals as well as the policy direction of an Asia-Pacific pact, said lawmakers are responding to the call to halt trade agreements that would hurt U.S. workers.

“The momentum is on our side. The call to protect American workers and businesses from another NAFTA-style trade deal is being heard,” Brown wrote in an email to supporters.

"Let’s keep the momentum going," he said while urging supporters to sign a petition against the trade agenda.



Letting Shell drill in Arctic could lead to catastrophic oil spill, experts warn

by Rose Hackman

Environmental groups and experts hit out at the US government on Tuesday following its announcement that the Anglo-Dutch oil giant Shell would be allowed to resume offshore exploration and drilling in the Arctic’s American waters.

Unforgiving conditions in the Arctic’s icy waters not only make the chances of a spill likely, the complete lack of infrastructure in place to deal with a potential disaster means the consequences of the move could be calamitous, environmental activists and experts say.

According to a study published in February by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, the same regulatory governmental agency that yesterday issued its approval of Shell’s Chukchi Sea exploration plan, the chances of one or more oil spills occurring as a result of drilling in the Arctic over the next 77 years are 75%.

In open water or broken ice, the same study says that between 44% and 62% of crude oil resulting from a spill would stay put – neither dispersing nor evaporating – after 30 days.



Sperm Grown in a Lab for the First Time

In a breakthrough that could lead to a treatment for thousands of infertile men, scientists have grown human sperm cells in a laboratory for the first time.

The Kallistem laboratory, a private research facility based in Lyon, France, has turned spermatogonia into mature sperm in test tubes. This is a feat that scientists have been trying to tackle for the past 15 years.

This complex process usually takes 72 day to take place in the human body.

“Kallistem is addressing a major issue whose impacts are felt worldwide: the treatment of male infertility,” Isabelle Cuoc, the CEO of Kallistem Laboratory, told the Daily Mail.

“Our team is the first in the world to have developed the technology required to obtain fully formed spermatozoa in vitro with sufficient yield for IVF,” Cuoc added.


McConnell: Trade deal about next president, not this one

"This is a six-year bill," he added. "So what I've said to my members, if we want the next Republican president, who we hope will be sworn in less than two years from now, to have a chance to do trade agreements with the rest of the world, this bill is about that president as well as this one."

He's up against Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid, and perhaps more significantly, Sen. Warren. He said the first-term Democrat from Massachusetts is driving the Democratic economic agenda to the point that Hillary Clinton, the prospective 2016 presidential nominee, is "dodging" the trade issue altogether.

"She's a very effective spokesman for a very far-left position," he said of Warren. "She and her allies have doubled down to try to beat this trade agreement. They are allies with the current Democratic leader, and the next Democratic leader. It's an interesting challenge for us."

"I want to compliment the president on the way he took on the base, took on Elizabeth Warren, took on the labor unions," he said. "The biggest divisions these days are not among Republicans but among Democrats."


Change I can't believe in

Wednesday Toon Roundup 3- The Rest





Climate deniers


Middle East

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