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Home country: USA
Current location: Georgia
Member since: Tue Feb 10, 2004, 12:08 PM
Number of posts: 34,955

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Environmental Scientist

Journal Archives

Woman killed by train; man allegedly steals her phone

Never assume that, even in the moment of death, everyone has sympathy.

Here, for example, is a case that shows some of humanity's baser thought processes.

A woman was killed on Thursday night by a Boston Red Line train at Downtown Crossing Station. Subsequently, police looked at the CCTV video from the station to see what might have happened.

What they saw -- and released to the public -- was a man appearing to show shock at what had happened. However, lying by his feet was a phone in an orange case. It had allegedly flown out of the woman's purse.

At first, the footage shows the man placing his right foot on the phone. Then, he looks around to see if anyone is paying attention to him. Seemingly satisfied that they aren't, he picks up the phone and walks away with it.



Protesters set fire to Mexican palace as anger over missing students grows

Source: Guardian

A group of protesters set fire to the wooden door of Mexican president Enrique Pena Nieto’s ceremonial palace in Mexico City’s historic city centre late on Saturday, denouncing the apparent massacre of 43 trainee teachers.

The group, carrying torches, broke away from what had been a mostly peaceful protest demanding justice for the students, who were abducted six weeks ago and apparently murdered and incinerated by corrupt police in league with drug gang members.

Police put out the flames and enforced fencing designed to keep the protesters away from the National Palace, which was built for Hernan Cortes after the Spanish conquest and now houses Mexico’s finance ministry.

Pena Nieto lives in a presidential residence across town, and was not in the palace at the time.

Read more: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/nov/09/protesters-fire-mexican-palace-anger-missing-students-grows

Dark Money Helped Win the Senate

The next Senate was just elected on the greatest wave of secret, special-interest money ever raised in a congressional election. What are the chances that it will take action to reduce the influence of money in politics?

Nil, of course. The next Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, has long been the most prominent advocate for unlimited secret campaign spending in Washington, under the phony banner of free speech. His own campaign benefited from $23 million in unlimited spending from independent groups like the National Rifle Association, the National Association of Realtors and the National Federation of Independent Business.

The single biggest outside spender on his behalf was a so-called social welfare group calling itself the Kentucky Opportunity Coalition, which spent $7.6 million on attack ads against his opponent, Alison Lundergan Grimes. It ran more ads in Kentucky than any other group, aside from the two campaigns.

What is its social welfare purpose, besides re-electing Mr. McConnell? It has none. Who gave that money? It could have been anyone who wants to be a political player but lacks the courage to do so openly — possibly coal interests, retailers opposed to the minimum wage, defense contractors, but there’s no way for the public to know. You can bet, however, that the senator knows exactly to whom he owes an enormous favor. The only name associated with the group is Scott Jennings, a deputy political director in the George W. Bush White House, who also worked for two of Mr. McConnell’s previous campaigns.



Christopher Epps, Former Chief of Prisons in Mississippi, Is Arraigned

Christopher B. Epps, a former state corrections commissioner in Mississippi, was arraigned in federal court on Thursday on charges of participating in a corruption scheme in which he received nearly a million dollars from a contractor who paid off Mr. Epps’s home mortgage and helped him buy a beach condominium.

A 49-count federal indictment unsealed Thursday documents a complex conspiracy dating to 2007 in which Mr. Epps is accused of receiving dozens of bribes totaling as much as $900,000 in exchange for directing lucrative state prison contracts to firms connected to Cecil McCrory, a local businessman and former state legislator. Both men pleaded not guilty Thursday before a federal magistrate in Jackson, Miss.

The bribes alleged in the indictment came at a time when one state prison, the East Mississippi Correctional Facility, which was operated by a private company with ties to Mr. McCrory, had degenerated into hellish chaos, according to advocates for inmates. Civil rights lawyers and medical and mental health experts who toured the facility this year say gang violence is frequent, medical treatment substandard or absent, and corruption common among corrections officers.

The indictment says that Mr. McCrory operated several companies that had contracts with the state, including for prison administration, commissary services and evaluating Medicaid eligibility across the state prison system.



CHARLIE RANGEL: It's 'Insulting' To Say Boots Aren't On The Ground In Iraq

Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-New York) is fuming mad over the White House's claim that the thousands of troops being deployed against the Islamic State (also called ISIS or ISIL) doesn't count as "boots on the ground."

"I think this is an insult to combat veterans to try to explain how we have already lost over 6,000 lives, spent over $7 trillion, in a war that has not been declared," Rangel told Business Insider on Saturday afternoon. "The whole theory that we can say, 'We're not at war because there's no boots on the ground,' is an insulting thing to say."

Rangel made the comments while addressing President Barack Obama's decision to send an additional 1,500 troops to fight the Islamic State, to a total of 3,000. Administration officials insisted Friday that the White House is "not going to be putting US men and women back into combat," but Rangel again called the claim "insulting" to veterans like him.

Echoing other liberal stalwarts like Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-New York), Rangel further said the Constitution demands an official vote to go to war and Congress was abdicating its duty by not more forcefully demanding the president go through this process.

"The Congress is guilty of allowing this to happen. If indeed our national security is threatened, then Congress should debate it ... Congress should vote on it. There should be a universal draft. And we should set aside money or more taxes to pay for it. But how in the hell we can go to the funerals, and go further into debt, and say, 'We're not at war,' challenges common sense," said Rangel, who has long called for a draft.

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/charlie-rangel-rages-at-white-house-over-isis-fight-2014-11

Federal sites leaked the locations of people seeking AIDS services for years

By Craig Timberg

Two federal government Web sites that help people find AIDS-related medical services have begun routinely encrypting user data after years in which they let sensitive information -- including the real-world locations of site visitors – onto the Internet unprotected.

Until the change, these sites had risked exposing the identities of visitors when they used search boxes to find nearby facilities offering HIV testing, treatment and other services, such as substance abuse and mental health counseling, say security experts. Government smartphone apps associated with one of the Web sites, AIDS.gov, also transmitted the latitude and longitude of users seeking services, after collecting those details from the phones of users.

The sites and apps did not themselves track visitors, but their data was handled in ways that could have enabled monitoring by employers, universities or others with access to the data flowing between individual devices – such as computers and smartphones – and the Internet. Even using a public wifi signal, offered by a coffee shop or airport, could have allowed a nearby hacker to learn that an individual user, wielding a particular type of smartphone, was seeking treatment for HIV or drug addiction.

Privacy advocates long have argued that routine encryption – using a popular protocol called SSL – should be standard for Web sites or apps handling potentially sensitive information, especially when it relates to personal medical concerns. Government officials, in response to questions posed by The Washington Post, said they came to agree that their sites created privacy risks for those seeking AIDS-related services.


This billionaire thinks the Fed is missing the hyperinflation in the Hamptons

Never underestimate the ingenuity of inflation truthers. Every time it seems like they've hit rock bottom intellectually, they manage to come up with new and even more ridiculous reasons for why inflation is supposedly higher than the official numbers say it is.

But, of course, like any conspiracy theory, it all starts off sounding plausible enough. First, they say the government understates inflation when it adjusts for the quality of goods and how people substitute for similar but cheaper ones. The only problem is that independent measures, like MIT's Billion Prices Project, have shown inflation is pretty much what the government says it is (although there's been a very slight difference the past few months). Then they point out that some prices are increasing more than the weighted average of all prices, as if this proves there's some kind of subterfuge going on. But that's just how averages work.

Which brings us to Paul Singer. He's the hedge fund billionaire who's made a small part of his fortune buying bonds from countries on the edge of default, and then suing them to get paid in full.* (This hasn't worked quite as well with Argentina). Well, it turns out that he has some very idiosyncratic ideas about what inflation actually looks like. His latest investor letter recycles all these ideas, inveighing against the Fed's "fake prices," "fake money," and "fake jobs," before zeroing in on where inflation is really showing up — his wallet:

Check out London, Manhattan, Aspen and East Hampton real estate prices, as well as high-end art prices, to see what the leading edge of hyperinflation could look like.

That's right: Paul Singer thinks Weimar-style inflation might be coming because he has to pay more for his posh vacation homes and art pieces.



Climate Denier Ted Cruz Is Poised to Become a Lead Senator on Science

The GOP's Senate takeover means the chamber's leadership positions will be filled with Republicans next year. That's bad news for the environment: The Senate’s worst climate change denier, James Inhofe of Oklahoma, will likely chair the Environment and Public Works Committee. But it's also bad news for science: Texas Senator Ted Cruz, another climate denier, may be next-in-line to become chair of the Subcommittee on Science and Space, which oversees agencies like the National Science Foundation, NASA, and the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.

In a February interview with CNN, Cruz said he doesn’t think the Earth is warming.

“You know, you always have to be worried about something that is considered a so-called scientific theory that fits every scenario. Climate change, as they have defined it, can never be disproved, because whether it gets hotter or whether it gets colder, whatever happens, they'll say, well, it's changing, so it proves our theory.”

He then parroted a myth beloved by deniers.

“The last 15 years, there has been no recorded warming. Contrary to all the theories that they are expounding, there should have been warming over the last 15 years. It hasn’t happened,” said Cruz. “You know, back in the ’70s—I remember the ’70s, we were told there was global cooling. And everyone was told global cooling was a really big problem. And then that faded.”



Just what we need

Sunday's Doonesbury- Not getting the message out

Sunday's Non Sequitur- Coroporate Gurus

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