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n2doc

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Home country: USA
Current location: Georgia
Member since: Tue Feb 10, 2004, 12:08 PM
Number of posts: 33,727

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Environmental Scientist

Journal Archives

US sends more military advisors to Iraq

Source: BBC

The US is sending 130 more military advisors to the Kurdish region of northern Iraq, Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel says.

The marines and special operations forces will assess the humanitarian situation and will not be engaged in combat, a US defence official said.

The US has been carrying out air strikes against fighters from militant group Islamic State (IS).

IS fighters have forced tens of thousands to flee their homes.

Read more: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-28767183



drip drip drip drip

Prince Saud: Israel has no right to self-defense


Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al-Faisal, center, Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah, right, and OIC Secretary-General Iyad


Saudi Arabia has said that the actions of the Palestinian resistance group, Hamas, cannot be equated with Israel’s mass killings.

Addressing a press conference after chairing an extraordinary meeting of the foreign ministers of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in Jeddah on Tuesday, Prince Saud Al-Faisal slammed Israel for committing crimes against humanity.

“You cannot equate the actions of Hamas and Israel, either in scale or in substance,” he said in response to a question on whether Hamas had taken adequate steps to seek a peaceful resolution of the current conflict. “It is not fair, there is no way you can put the two together.”

“How can you say that Israel has a right to defend itself when it is the occupier and you do not give the same right to Hamas?” he said.

more

http://www.arabnews.com/news/615131

Texas anti-gay leader Jonathan Saenz’s ex-wife left him for another woman

Mere months before Jonathan Saenz became president of the anti-gay group Texas Values, his wife left him for another woman, according to Hays County district court records obtained by Lone Star Q.

The revelation could help explain Saenz’s seemingly abrupt transformation from socially conservative lobbyist to homophobic firebrand.

Saenz, a devout Catholic, has been a right-wing operative in Texas for many years — working on abortion and religious liberty cases as a staff attorney for the Plano-based Liberty Legal Institute as far back as 2005.

However, it wasn’t until recently that Saenz emerged as one of the state’s best-known — and most extreme — anti-LGBT voices.

more

http://www.lonestarq.com/texas-values-president-jonathan-saenz-anti-gay-activism-become-personal/

Feds Bail on Protecting Wolverines

by Chris Clarke

Overruling the strong recommendations of its own scientists, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is withdrawing a proposal to list the North American wolverine, Gulo gulo, as Threatened under the U.S. Endangered Species Act.

USFWS scientists had urged the wolverine be listed due to the likely effect of climate change on the rare predatory weasel's reproductive habits. The animals depend on deep, persistent snow for their breeding, and an increasingly warm planet means that winter breeding habitat will likely become unsuitable for the wolverine.

Nonetheless, USFWS Director Dan Ashe announced Tuesday that the agency will back a call by one of the agency's regional directors to withdraw the listing proposal, citing "uncertainty" over the actual effect of disappearing snowfields on the wolverine's survival.

more

http://www.kcet.org/news/redefine/rewild/agencies/feds-bail-on-protecting-wolverines.html

This Is The Terrifying Result Of The Militarization Of Police

by PAUL SZOLDRA



While serving as a U.S. Marine on patrol in Afghanistan, we wore desert camouflage to blend in with our surroundings, carried rifles to shoot back when under enemy attack, and drove around in armored vehicles to ward off roadside bombs.
We looked intimidating, but all of our vehicles and equipment had a clear purpose for combat against enemy forces. So why is this same gear being used on our city streets?

Putting aside what started the protests for a moment, it's worth discussing the police response to the outrage. In photos taken on Monday, we are shown a heavily armed SWAT team.

They have short-barreled 5.56-mm rifles based on the military M4 carbine, with scopes that can accurately hit a target out to 500 meters. On their side they carry pistols. On their front, over their body armor, they carry at least four to six extra magazines, loaded with 30 rounds each.


"Why do these cops need MARPAT camo pants again," I asked on Twitter this morning. One of the most interesting responses came from a follower who says he served in the Army's 82nd Airborne Division: "We rolled lighter than that in an actual warzone."

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/police-militarization-ferguson-2014-8

Just greasing' the rails of commerce…...

Comcast really, really doesn’t like it when you talk about the enormous piles of cash it’s burning to jam its proposed merger with Time Warner Cable through the regulatory process. Comcast was not at all happy when we wrote about its decision to invite an attorney at the Department of Justice’s antitrust division to a Winter Olympics kickoff party less than a month before it announced its plan to merge with TWC, for instance. And now Politico reports that Comcast again finds itself in the midst of controversy after it recently revealed that it will be paying $110,000 to sponsor a dinner honoring current FCC commissioner Mignon Clyburn.

The dinner will be part of an annual event held by the Walter Kaitz Foundation, at which Clyburn will be honored for being a leading diversity advocate. Comcast points out that it’s spent comparable sums sponsoring past Walter Kaitz Foundation dinners before and it says that it’s just a coincidence that the person being honored this year just happens to be one of the people who will have a tremendous amount of influence over the fate of its proposed merger with TWC.

“We absolutely dispute the notion that our contributions have anything to do with currying favor with Commissioner Clyburn or any honoree,” Comcast spokeswoman Sena Fitzmaurice told Politico. “Such claims are insulting and not supported by any evidence. They are purely fiction. We have supported the organization year in and year out regardless of who the dinner honorees have been.”

Nonetheless, it’s not as though Comcast is just some innocent babe in the woods when it comes to lobbying government officials to do its bidding. Earlier this year we learned that Comcast now employs an army of 40 different lobbying firms that are all relentlessly hounding everyone in Washington to sign off on the TWC merger with no questions asked. So while Comcast’s decision to sponsor this dinner may not be part of a ploy to win over an FCC commissioner, it’s not “insulting” for anyone to raise their eyebrows about it given what we know about the company’s behavior.

http://bgr.com/2014/08/12/comcast-fcc-commissioner-clyburn-dinner/

Squee Alert- Tiny Black Rail chick



The International Bird Rescue is caring for an orphaned baby bird that’s so tiny it’s no bigger than a cotton-ball.

This baby black rail, a threatened shorebird that’s rarely seen, was found Wednesday evening by a Petaluma couple on a stroll near Shollenberger Park.

“He was just walking down the middle of the path like he owned the place. He looked like a pom-pom,” said Dione Rochelle. “He was going pretty fast. We stepped back thinking there was a mother or other babies. ”

A hiker walking by told Dione and her husband Peter that he had seen the same little bird running around an hour before. After waiting an hour and determining that the chick appeared to be abandoned, Dione scooped it up and her husband delivered it to Wildcare in San Rafael the next morning.

more

http://blog.sfgate.com/stew/2014/08/12/rare-baby-bird-found-in-petaluma-is-no-bigger-than-a-cottonball/


Tuesday Evening Toons- More Robin Williams Tributes
















Racism, the misuse of genetics and a huge scientific protest

"A Troublesome Inheritance: Genes, Race, and Human History" is the new book by science writer Nicholas Wade that asserts a genetic basis for certain human behaviors and distinguishes them by race. It's been widely panned in book reviews, especially by experts in the fields of science and social science touched on by the work.

Reviewers have cited scientific errors in the book, but typically aim more directly at Wade's conclusions.

The most newsworthy reaction to the book has just come from the genetic sciences community, in the form of an open letter signed by (as of this writing) 143 senior biologists and geneticists from around the world, decrying what they say is Wade's "misappropriation of research from our field to support arguments about differences among human societies."

They write: "Wade juxtaposes an incomplete and inaccurate account of our research on human genetic differences with speculation that recent natural selection has led to worldwide differences in I.Q. test results, political institutions and economic development. We reject Wade’s implication that our findings substantiate his guesswork. They do not."

If there's been a more thorough repudiation of a responsible publisher's nonfiction work by experts in its field in recent years, we haven't seen it. (The publisher is Penguin Press.)

more

http://www.latimes.com/business/hiltzik/la-fi-mh-huge-scientific-protest-20140812-column.html#page=1

Lunch lady rises to teachers union leader and takes on all comers, bluntly

By Lyndsey Layton

She began her career in a school cafeteria, as a lunch lady. In three weeks, she will take over as head of the nation’s largest labor union, representing 3 million educators.

Lily Eskelsen García, 59, a telegenic, guitar-slinging firebrand, has made her unlikely rise to the top of the National Education Association as the union faces the most daunting political challenges in its 157-year history. She is already fighting back with blunt talk, urging teachers nationwide to revolt against “stupid” education reforms and telling politicians to leave teaching to the professionals.

Her first priority: Putting the brakes on standardized testing, an issue she believes will resonate not only with her members but also with parents — important potential allies for the political clashes she sees ahead. García believes the country is in the grip of testing mania, the quest for high scores killing joy, narrowing curriculums and perverting the learning process.

“I’ll be damned if I will sit quietly and play nice and say diplomatic things about something that has corrupted the profession I love,” García said.

more

http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/education/lunch-lady-rises-to-union-leader-and-takes-on-all-comers/2014/08/11/04895a82-1e46-11e4-ae54-0cfe1f974f8a_story.html
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