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Home country: USA
Current location: Georgia
Member since: Tue Feb 10, 2004, 12:08 PM
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Environmental Scientist

Journal Archives

Desperate Christie Rebrands Himself As Protector of Delayed Commuters

This has not been Chris Christie’s week. Which is really saying something.

On Tuesday, a Monmouth University (N.J.) poll showed support for the New Jersey governor tumbling into eighth place among likely New Hampshire Republican primary voters. Just 4% of the 467 people surveyed said Christie was their first choice; 24% said the same about Donald Trump.

Sure, there were details that might give solace. Nearly half the voters who reported meeting a candidate said they’d met Christie. And when asked about their second choices, 8% of the respondents said they’d back Christie. That’s the same number supporting Trump and Marco Rubio as a second choice, and two points behind how Jeb Bush and Scott Walker perform among voters asked the same question.

But let’s face it. This isn’t where Christie needs to be to execute a hoped-for northeastern sweep that will generate enough momentum to carry him to the 2016 GOP nomination. And that implausible (if mathematically intriguing) scenario was never Plan A. Christie’s support among Republicans collapsed in early 2014 after his inner circle’s involvement in Bridgegate came to light, and it never rebounded.

Asked about the numbers on Tuesday, Christie lashed out at the source. “The Monmouth University poll was created just to aggravate me” he told reporters before calling the university’s polling director, Patrick Murray, “a liberal advocate.” “Just look at Patrick Murray and his tweets,” Christie fumed.


The Planned Parenthood hoax is the GOP’s Trojan horse

It’s a tale as old as time. Conservatives find themselves backed into a political corner, usually right before a contentious election season. In need of something to mobilize their anti-choice base, they launch an attack on reproductive health through another attempt to shut down the Planned Parenthood Federation of America. The collateral damage: time, energy and resources spent responding to the attack, instead of focusing on the crisis of reproductive health care access in America.

It was just before the 2012 election that conservative Republicans made their last previous attempt at passing legislation to defund Planned Parenthood. Now again, we can anticipate that legislation will be introduced in Congress to prevent any federal funds going to the country’s biggest provider of reproductive health care.

The old playbook is out again. Recently an anti-abortion group called the Center for Medical Progress, representing itself as a medical research firm, released secretly recorded, and heavily edited, videos of Planned Parenthood staff discussing fetal tissue donation, a service Planned Parenthood offers to its patients. Should they choose, someone who gets an abortion at Planned Parenthood can make the fetal tissue available for medical research purposes. Planned Parenthood denies any profit or wrongdoing.

On Tuesday, a court issued a temporary restraining order preventing The Center for Medical Progress from releasing videos featuring leaders of a California company that provides fetal tissue to researchers. Despite this, the attacks continue. The websites of Planned Parenthood, The National Network of Abortion Funds and the Abortion Care Network were hacked and shut down. A separate anti-abortion group, calling themselves “E,” took credit for hacking the nonprofits databases and gaining access to employee names and emails.



How Black Lives Matter forced campaigns to toss their strategies on black voters


Democrats have never been more confident that their chances of hanging onto the White House hinge on black voters, who tipped key states toward President Obama -- but they have never been less confident, it seems, about how to talk to them.

The Black Lives Matter campaign is seeing to it that the rules they relied on for courting the vote no longer apply.

The potent social media-driven movement, sparked in the aftermath of Florida teen Trayvon Martin’s death and reignited in the racial unrest of the last year, has 2016 contenders scrambling to adjust their strategies. The protesters involved are proving masterful at refocusing the spotlight. Candidates who might have otherwise been complacent given their high marks on legislative report cards from the National Assn. for the Advancement of Colored People and endorsements from an older generation of black leaders have had to more directly confront uncomfortable questions of racial inequality and the mistreatment of blacks by the criminal justice system.

“We want to ensure that these candidates will actually deal with the issues that black people face,” said Patrisse Cullors, a co-founder of the movement who is from Los Angeles. “The reality is that it’s still not legal to be black in this country.”

The group’s demands are likely to drive discussion at a major conference of the National Urban League here Friday, where candidates of both parties will spar over the best approach for improving the lives of African Americans. Among the attendees are Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton and Republican Jeb Bush, who both found themselves pushed off balance by Black Lives Matter in recent weeks on the campaign trail.



Climate change poses undeniable threat to national security

By USMC Brig. Gen. Stephen Cheney (ret.)

Having spent more than 30 years in the US Marine Corps, I know what constitutes a national security threat. Climate change, caused in large part by the carbon pollution we dump into our air, presents risks to the safety of both our nation and our world at large. The threats of climate change include extreme weather, rising sea levels, reduced military capacity, and conditions that can enable worldwide violence and perpetuate terrorism.

To address this challenge, we’ll need to both prepare for the effects of climate change and reduce the pollution that is causing it. As the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)’s Clean Power Plan proposal is set to be finalized shortly, our country has an unprecedented opportunity to protect itself from the national security threats imposed on us by climate change.

The EPA’s plan sets the first ever federal limits on carbon pollution from existing power plants, encourages investment in clean energy development, and helps boost energy efficiency measures. It’s vital we seize this opportunity, which also provides incentives and flexibility for states to meet their carbon reduction targets while creating jobs and lowering electricity bills at the same time. We are at risk now more than ever before.
Last year was officially ranked as the warmest year on record, and the ten warmest years on record have all occurred since 2000, with the exception of 1998. While we cannot suggest direct causations between climate change and extreme weather events, there is substantial evidence that indicates strong correlations between the two.


Obama Administration 'Senselessly' Fights Release of Guantanamo Hunger Striker

In an editorial published Wednesday, the New York Times editorial board criticized the Obama administration for saying it will oppose the release of Tariq Ba Odah, a long-term hunger striker who's been held at Guantanamo Bay for more than 13 years, despite never being charged with a crime.

Last month Rolling Stone published an article in which Ba Odah's lawyer, Omar Farah, described the human rights nightmare the 36-year-old prisoner has experienced since arriving at Guantanamo, and the precarious state of Ba Odah's health.

"Ba Odah has not eaten – not voluntarily, at least – since February of 2007. As a result, he is force-fed, usually in the morning and again in the evening. Guards remove Ba Odah from his cell, several at a time in protective gear, strap him to a restraint chair, and medical staff force a liquid supplement through his nose and into his stomach. 'Waterboarding,' Ba Odah calls it, both for the obvious torture analogy and because, at times, it has caused him to urinate and vomit."

Ba Odah, who at the time weighed less than 80 pounds, says he has been held almost exclusively in solitary confinement since May 2009. He's been on hunger strike for eight years in protest of his treatment at Guantanamo Bay, and the Obama administration's failure to close the notorious prison, despite repeated promises to do so.

Read more: http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/obama-administration-senselessly-fights-release-of-guantanamo-hunger-striker-20150730

Don’t Underestimate Bernie: Inside Bernie Sanders’ Unprecedented Grassroots Campaign

In June of 2008, the then Democratic Presidential nominee, Barack Obama and his campaign organized 4,000 online house parties in preparation of the general election only a few months away.

This past Wednesday evening, with the Iowa Caucus over five months away, the candidate many discounted as fringe and unlikely to generate any decent challenge for the White House, Bernie Sanders and his campaign organized over 3,000 grassroots gatherings with over 100,000 RSVPs. In all 50 states: in pubs, union halls, coffee shops and apartments, Sanders addressed his growing number of supporters via live-stream from a house party in Washington D.C., laying out the importance of building a grassroots organization network in all 50 states in order to create what the Democratic candidate calls a “political revolution.”

Bernie called upon his supporters to build the movement by talking to friends and coworkers, knocking on doors, registering voters, and volunteering to set-up campaign events.

Sanders proclaimed “enough is enough” in regards to issues varying from income inequality to institutional racism to mass incarceration to money corrupting politics.



As oil-drilling bill advances, Sen. Bill Nelson vows to use all options to stop it

A bill to open new areas off Florida’s Gulf Coast to drilling and to accelerate the timetable for doing so passed out of a U.S. Senate committee Thursday, prompting a vow from one of the state’s senators to do whatever measures possible to block it.

The legislation passed out of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, allowing for additional areas of oil and gas exploration off America’s shores. Part of the bill dealt with drilling off Florida’s Gulf Coast – and prompted the rebuke from Sen. Bill Nelson, a Democrat from Orlando.

In a one-line letter to the Republican and Democratic leaders of the Senate, Nelson said, “If any measure to repeal the current moratorium on offshore drilling in the eastern Gulf of Mexico comes before the full Senate for a vote, I will use all available procedural options to block it.”

Currently, there’s a no-drilling zone extending 125 miles off most of the state’s Gulf coastline – and as far out as 235 miles at some points, Nelson said. That no-drilling zone is in effect until 2022.

Read more here: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/news/politics-government/congress/article29598748.html#storylink=cpy

Police Shootings Won't Stop Unless We Also Stop Shaking Down Black People

In April, several days after North Charleston, South Carolina, police officer Michael Slager stopped Walter Scott for a busted taillight and then fatally shot him, the usual cable-news transmogrification of victim into superpredator ran into problems. The dash cam showed Scott being pulled over while traveling at a nerdy rate of speed, using his left turn signal to pull into a parking lot and having an amiable conversation with Slager until he realized he'd probably get popped for nonpayment of child support. At which point he bolted out of the car and hobbled off. Slager then shot him. Why didn't the cop just jog up and grab him? Calling what the obese 50-year-old Scott was doing "running" really stretches the bounds of literary license.

But maybe the question to ask is: Why did Scott run? The answer came when the New York Times revealed Scott to be a man of modest means trapped in an exhausting hamster wheel: He would get a low-paying job, make some child support payments, fall behind on them, get fined, miss a payment, get jailed for a few weeks, lose that job due to absence, and then start over at a lower-paying job. From all apparent evidence, he was a decent schlub trying to make things work in a system engineered to make his life miserable and recast his best efforts as criminal behavior.

Recently, two more deaths of African Americans that have blown up in the media follow a pattern similar to Scott's. Sandra Bland in Texas and Samuel DuBose in Cincinnati were each stopped for minor traffic infractions (failing to use turn signal, missing front license plate), followed by immediate escalation by the officer into rage, and then an official story that is obviously contradicted by the video (that the officer tried to "de-escalate" the tension with Bland; that the officer was dragged by DuBose's car). In both cases, the perpetrator of a minor traffic offense died.

When incidents of police violence come to light, the usual defense is that we should not tarnish all the good cops just because of "a few bad apples." No one can argue with that. But what is usually implied in that phrase is that the "bad" officers' intentions are malevolent—that they are morally corrupt and racist. And that may be true, but they are also bad in the job-performance sense. These men are crummy cops, sometimes profoundly so. Slager had a record for gratuitously using his Taser. Timothy Leohmann, who leapt from his car and instantly killed 12-year-old Tamir Rice, had been deemed "weepy" and unable to "emotionally function" by a supervisor at his previous PD job, who added: "I do not believe time, nor training, will be able to change or correct these deficiencies." Ferguson's Darren Wilson was also fired from his previous job—actually, the entire police force of Jennings, Missouri, was disbanded for being awful.



Friday TOON Roundup 3 - The Rest





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Friday TOON Roundup 2 - Entertaining but Stupid

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